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China sending 10 to prison in baby trade

A Chinese orphanage director and nine other people have been sentenced to prison for buying and selling scores of infants who were adopted by foreign parents, the government announced Saturday.

Another 22 officials were fired in the case in the southern city of Hengyang in Hunan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Police said the traffickers bought babies that had been abducted from their families and sold them to welfare homes in Hengyang for $400-$540 each.

"The social welfare homes then had the infants adopted by foreigners who made donations," the report said. It didn't give the nationalities of adoptive parents.

The trade ran from 2002 to 2005; 78 babies were trafficked in 2005 alone, Xinhua said.

Employees who answered the phone at the Qidong County People's Court, where the case was tried, said they could not say whether authorities were trying to track down babies abroad. China has a thriving black market in babies. People involved with the adoption of Chinese children by foreigners have long worried that parents might unknowingly receive children who were abducted or stolen from their families.

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