25 years later, abducted girl finally returning home

25 years later, abducted girl finally returning home

June is still weeks away, but Cai Juanjuan of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province is already looking forward to July.

That is when she will be joined by her daughter, Weng Cuimei, who was abducted 25 years ago. Weng will be bringing Cai's grandchildren to her old hometown.

The 54-year-old Cai and husband, Li Mianquan, had been searching for the girl ever since her disappearance on Jan 22, 1989, at the age 5.

As she grew older, Weng, who had been sold by human traffickers to a family in Fujian province, also kept looking for her parents.

In March of this year, the young woman registered with "Baby Back Home", one of China's most influential nonprofit non-government organisations that search for missing children.

Aided by a volunteer for the organisation, she reported to a nearby police station, and a sample of her blood was soon on its way to a nationwide database, overseen by the Ministry of Public Security, for DNA matching.

Earlier this month, Weng was told that her DNA matched that of a couple in Wenzhou.

When they finally met on May 20, the mother and daughter hugged tightly and burst into tears.

Cai's husband couldn't come because of illness.

Weng, who runs a jewelry shop with her husband in Shenzhen, lives there with their two children. She told reporters she will continue to live in Shenzhen but plans to visit the hometown this summer.

Her foster parents, who bought her for 3,000 yuan with the intention of turning her into a wife for one of their two sons, did tell her the truth and treated her well, Weng said.

It was a common practice to buy girls from human traffickers in the 1970s and 1980s in Chongqin village, Putian city of Fujian, when it was a poverty-stricken place, according to a report by Nanfang Metropolis Daily.

But the village got richer when the jewelry processing business started to flourish, the report said.

Weng married a childhood sweetheart instead of one of her foster brothers, and moved to Shenzhen in 2009.

Her husband's foster sister had also been abducted by the same human trafficker, but she never found her biological parents, Weng said.

Online, "Baby Back Home" - www.baobeihuijia.com - shows that 15,000 families have posted information to help find their missing children and that almost 9,500 formerly abducted children are looking for their families.

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