In Pakistan, some desperate families push their daughters and sisters to marry Chinese men for money. But once in China, many brides are cruelly abused. And despite rights groups raising the alarm, Pakistani officials hesitate to crack down on the human trafficking. An AP investigation released in 2019 traced over 600 Pakistani brides sold to China over the past two years. And for many, a promised fairytale turns out to be a nightmare.
Narrator: Back with family but broken inside. This is Samia David. She was trafficked to China and married off to a stranger. After just two months, she returned to Pakistan deathly ill.
Doctor: Malnourished... Very, very, very low weight according to the
height and weight criteria she was very lean, so slim.
Narrator: A month later, she was dead. Samia's story is not unique and is part of a disturbing wider trend in human trafficking. Chinese men seeking Brides are fueling an illegal but lucrative cross-border practice. It targets girls and women often from Pakistan's impoverished Christian minority. Lured by the promise of a better life and money for their parents. They're told they're going to marry wealthy Chinese Christians. More often than not, they end up in some of China's poorest and conservative areas where its one-child policy has led to too many men and not enough women. Once across the border young brides are at the mercy of their new husbands.
Woman: And every name in one room - fighting to start from the in pregnancy. Yeah, there are a lot of spiders because my room behind my room is mud. I told him these spiders are here. I feel eating. I'm not feeling relaxed and he's not listening you say no you'reyou don't know you're crazy and he...
Narrator: Other women have described coercive behavior, physical abuse, and even forced prostitution.
Man: Whatever the Chinese grooms want to do with them, they can. No one is there to see what happens to the girl. It's the height of cruelty.
Narrator: But also a profitable business that's practiced openly in China. Although Beijing says, it has zero tolerance for any illegal cross-border marriage behavior. A pakistani investigation into the trafficking networks led to a number of arrests last year, but efforts to bring the traffickers to justice have stalled. Investigators say they've come under pressure from government officials to curtail their work for fear of damaging Pakistan's increasingly close economic ties to Beijing, and as long as Pakistan turns a blind eye. The lucrative and distressing trade of Brides to China will continue
Reporter: Joining me now for more on this story is Osman irani she's the co-chair of the Human Rights Commission of a Pakistan. Mrs. Irani welcome, why are government officials so hesitant to crack down on bride trafficking into China?
Mrs. Irani: Unfortunately, when ever since these cases have been reported the government's response has been like luster and what people are saying is I mean pitches as you know the China is a very like economic ally of Pakistan and they are providing is a lot of aid in the form of this the cp+ military aid. So, all these factors I think are coming into the picture where these cases are not being addressed as force trafficking and the government is not responding in trying to recover many of these girls and family isn't reaching out for help.
Reporter: So, that looks like a grim prognosis. Does that mean that these cases we will see more of in the future?
Mrs. Irani: So far till April 2019 through the travel documents when when initial investigation took place 629 cases were reported documented, and I even till today we the numbers must have gone up because no action has been taken. So obviously if the government is going to look the other way the traffickers will continue with what they are doing. There's a lot of people are making money.The local authorities in the sense the local community gets involved in these trafficking cases because they are benefiting. So, we the madrasas the some of the churches in small areas. So, it's also Christian population that is being targeted and some Muslim communities know.
Reporter: Why exactly these poor communities or these minority communities?
Mrs. Irani: I guess the minority is being the poorest and obviously for poverty is one of the reasons that parents agreed to sell their daughters. Like annuity, they're told that were created newly like these are Muslim Chinese what it was mean the people mostly Brides feel that okay we are we are doing a good deed by marrying our daughter who you know converted Muslim in most cases obviously this is not the case issue is birch cultural. We all know the factors behind this marrying or trafficking of young girls and is not only Pakistan. It's spreading to other countries also.
Reporter: Right! That's why we leave it. But thank you so much for joining us, Osman Irani.
1. Who is Samia David? Tell us more about her.
2. How do you feel about bride trafficking?
3. Share what you know about human trafficking. Who are the most likely victims? Why are people involved in human trafficking? Are women just as likely to be traffickers as men?