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Friday, November 7, 1997 Published at 18:07 GMT


Chinese girl blows lid on global child sex ring

Children are being sent to the US via Europe

An international paedophile racket, believed to be one of the largest in Europe, has been uncovered in Italy.

[ image: Italian Customs officers spotted the false passport]
Italian Customs officers spotted the false passport
The criminal ring was smashed when a Japanese man and a Chinese woman were arrested at Milan airport while accompanying a 12-year-old Chinese girl.

The pair will be charged with kidnapping, extortion and associating with the mafia.

Since then, the girl has told police how the paedophile ring operates.

She was sold into prostitution by her parents in China, then worked in a brothel in Thailand before being sent to Miami in the United States via Europe.

[ image: Parents told their children are being taken into domestic service]
Parents told their children are being taken into domestic service
Mafia gangs buy both boys and girls from poor families or parents, who are banned under Chinese law from having a second child.

Italy is believed to be a major staging post for the transit of child prostitutes from Asia to Europe and America.

In just one month the gangs smuggled 15 children to the US through European airports, including Milan.

After the arrest of the couple in April three more people were seized in Japan while three are still being sought in Italy.

Italian police believe the discovery marks only the tip of the iceberg of paedophile crime run by Chinese triads, or mafia gangs, and Japanese gangsters. Their investigations are continuing with the help of Interpol.

[ image: Western governments have cracked down on sex tourism]
Western governments have cracked down on sex tourism
Many Western governments have cracked down on so called sex tourists who travel abroad for sex with children. They have passed laws allowing people to be prosectuted at home for crimes committed abroad.

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