Trafficking in women and children is on the rise in China, authorities said Friday as they announced a five-year plan to combat the problem.
The nationwide campaign, to begin next year, will seek to step up monitoring of the problem from the grass-roots level, as well as help victims, according to a circular posted on the central government's websites.
"There are new trends... in crimes that involve women and children trafficking, the situation is not optimistic. Organised criminal activities and cross-border cases are on the increase," the circular said.
"(We) must minimise the physical and psychological harm suffered by women and children who have been kidnapped and sold."
Under the plan, local government departments will be required to clamp down on illegal job markets by closing unlicensed job and marriage agencies, which often lure women and children into the sex trade and forced labour.
Transport departments must also step up monitoring at railway and bus stations, ferry docks, airports and entertainment venues to prevent women and children from being kidnapped.
Governments at all levels should also provide counselling for women and children who have been kidnapped to re-integrate into society.
Around 3,000 cases of women and children being abducted are reported to police each year, according to official statistics, although the true number of victims is widely believed to be far higher as many cases go unreported.