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Hundreds of Christian girls from Pakistan sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China

Persecution of Pakistani Christians: the kidnapping and forced marriage of girls from Christian families in Pakistan is not new; it is a sadly recurring phenomenon. As you can see from this article, it is a matter of international concern, and those who perpetrate these crimes are well-funded and well-connected.

Pakistan’s Orthodox Christian community is as vulnerable to this persecution as are the rest of Pakistan’s Christians. This abuse cries out for attention from international human rights organizations. Please pray that the Christian community in Pakistan will be able to endure this martyrdom and experience a resurrection, and that relief will soon come to this courageous and long-suffering Christian community.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Hundreds of Pakistani Christians Sold as Brides to China,” Associated Press, December 7, 2019:

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China. The list, obtained by The Associated Press, was compiled by Pakistani investigators determined to break up trafficking networks exploiting the country´s poor and vulnerable.

The list gives the most concrete figure yet for the number of women caught up in the trafficking schemes since 2018.

But since the time it was put together in June, investigators´ aggressive drive against the networks has largely ground to a halt. Officials with knowledge of the investigations say that is because of pressure from government officials fearful of hurting Pakistan´s lucrative ties to Beijing.

The biggest case against traffickers has fallen apart. In October, a court in Faisalabad acquitted 31 Chinese nationals charged in connection with trafficking. Several of the women who had initially been interviewed by police refused to testify because they were either threatened or bribed into silence, according to a court official and a police investigator familiar with the case. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution for speaking out.

At the same time, the government has sought to curtail investigations, putting “immense pressure” on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency pursuing trafficking networks, said Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who has helped parents rescue several young girls from China and prevented others from being sent there.

“Some (FIA officials) were even transferred,” Iqbal said in an interview. “When we talk to Pakistani rulers, they don´t pay any attention. ”

Asked about the complaints, Pakistan´s interior and foreign ministries refused to comment…

An AP investigation earlier this year revealed how Pakistan´s Christian minority has become a new target of brokers who pay impoverished parents to marry off their daughters, some of them teenagers, to Chinese husbands who return with them to their homeland. Many of the brides are then isolated and abused or forced into prostitution in China, often contacting home and pleading to be brought back. The AP spoke to police and court officials and more than a dozen brides – some of whom made it back to Pakistan, others who remained trapped in China – as well as remorseful parents, neighbours, relatives and human rights workers.

Christians are targeted because they are one of the poorest communities in Muslim-majority Pakistan. The trafficking rings are made up of Chinese and Pakistani middlemen and include Christian ministers, mostly from small evangelical churches, who get bribes to urge their flock to sell their daughters. Investigators have also turned up at least one Muslim cleric running a marriage bureau from his madrassa, or religious school….

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