A huge baby trafficking network is still operating in mainland China even though investigators denounced it a year ago.

A criminal organization comprising of at least 100 operators across several provinces, and Weifang city hospitals were at large on Aug. 26. This was despite volunteer investigator Shangguan Zhengyi’s efforts to shut down the operation, and punish those responsible in Shandong province almost 12 months earlier.

“I have been following up on this medical company in Weifang for nearly a year after finding evidence of illegal surrogacy and baby-trafficking, and reporting it to the local authorities,” Shangguan said according to Radio Free Asia.

After reporting the crime to authorities, local police assured the volunteer there would be an official investigation. However, nothing happened and Zhengyi suspects law enforcement officers failed to perform their duty.

Police officers claim they arrested and questioned trafficking ring leader Zhu Yunli. They suspect the woman falsely described her activities as a reproductive health service provider. Key business activities include facilitating negotiations between clients, who wish to acquire a baby, and pregnant women or those with newborns according to the South China Morning Post

Other activities included intervening in recruitments that led to surrogacy, which is unlawful in the communist-ruled nation. This involves carrying an expecting mother’s pregnancy to term, and delivering the baby for the person–or paying the couple that later becomes the infant’s parents.

Shangguan claims there is a cottage industry of baby traffickers that charge people up to $20,000 to help them buy a newborn. Shangguan allegedly obtained this information from Zhu after pretending to be a potential customer.

Zhu admitted several doctors and nurses were also involved at the W.F. Maternal and Child Health Hospital, and the Weifang Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They reportedly trade between 20 and 30 babies annually, mainly through Weibo and other social networks.

Former police academy student Lu confirmed child trafficking has existed for many years in China.

“A friend of mine could not give birth and so they bought [a baby,] which brought a whole lot of problems,” Lu said according to the broadcaster. “[It] wound up costing them tens of thousands or even 100,000 yuan [$15,000.] My friend and her family treated the kid very well but there are a lot of people who do not–it is pretty crazy.”

BL previously reported some of these infants are sexually exploited and become pedophilia victims.

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