A woman and seven others, including a teacher and civil servants, have been handed lengthy prison sentences after they forced 10 schoolgirls, as young as 13, into sexual slavery and prostitution.
From 2007-2008 the ringleader Yuan Ronghui, a 37-year-old unemployed resident of China’s Guizhou province, oversaw the kidnapping of ten schoolgirls, who she rented out to men at her apartment for prices in the region of $15.
She had a pair of teenagers, now locked up in a youth detention centre, wait at school gates in order to abduct likely girls, who were then kept quiet about their enforced prostitution with threats of violence.
Customers brought before courts, seven in total, included a teacher and four local officials, all of whom were convicted of raping minors and handed sentences ranging from 7 to 14 years.
Ronghui herself received a life sentence for her crimes.
The crimes came to light after parents of one of the girls learnt that she had become pregnant.
Even China’s muzzled press condemned the courts for initially only considering prostitution charges against the group; prosecutors soon reconsidered in the face of outrage and pursued much more severe charges of child rape against the accused.