Six Jailed in China’s : Shocking Chained Woman Trafficking Case

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Six people have been jailed in a high-profile human trafficking case in China. The case involved a woman who was found chained in a remote village last year, leading to a crackdown on bride trafficking. Xiaohuamei’s plight came to public attention when a vlogger found her living in a dirt-floor hut outside her family home in a village near Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, with an iron chain around her neck. Xiaohuamei had reportedly had eight children and appeared “dazed” and mentally incapacitated. The case sparked outrage, and many campaigners called for legal reform and greater punishments for trafficking crimes.

The woman’s husband, Dong Zhimin, was jailed for nine years for torture, abuse, and keeping her captive. Five others received terms ranging from eight to 13 years. However, many reacting to the verdict on Friday said the sentences were too small and that reforms were still lacking. The case led to a criminal investigation and pledges from police to crack down on trafficking of women and children. Activists had been pushing for legal reform, arguing that such light sentences posed no deterrence to the bridal market of traffickers and buyers.

Many details of Xiaohuamei’s case were confirmed for the first time during the trial. The court determined that she had been abducted as a teenager and sold to a farmer in Donghai province. She was then sold again to a couple who arranged her sale to Dong’s father. The court found Dong guilty of torturing and abusing his wife, forcing her to have children despite her worsening schizophrenia. In 2017, he moved her out of the family home into the outdoor hut, where he kept her tied up with cloth ropes and chains. The hut had no water, electricity, or light, and she was often denied meals. The case has sparked discussions about legal reform and greater punishments for trafficking crimes in China.

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