Pakistan has declined to pursue a sprawling case against Chinese sex traffickers due to fears it would harm economic ties with Beijing, the AP reported on Wednesday.
Pakistani investigators have compiled a list of 629 girls and women who were brought to China to be sold as brides. Traffickers often target members of Pakistan’s Christian minority, one of the poorest communities in the Muslim-majority country, and some even bribe ministers to advise churchgoers to sell their daughters.
A senior Pakistani official said that many of the women who have spoken to the authorities have reported physical and sexual abuse while in China, as well as forced prostitution and fertility treatments. One investigation even contains allegations the organs of some of the women were harvested in China, although there is no evidence for the allegations as of yet.
Those familiar with the case said Pakistani authorities are quashing the investigations, in some cases even transferring investigators to different areas.
“No one is doing anything to help these girls,” another official told the AP. “The whole racket is continuing, and it is growing. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. The authorities won’t follow through, everyone is being pressured to not investigate. Trafficking is increasing now.”
A case against 31 Chinese nationals accused of human trafficking fell apart in October when a court acquitted all of them. Several women brought by police to testify were bribed or threatened to remain silent.