Chinese authorities have confirmed that the high-profile case of a chained woman that was found inside a hut in the eastern Jiangsu Province was trafficked multiple times.
After weeks of public outrage and requests for a thorough investigation, the chained Chinese woman seen in a viral video, whose real name has now been identified as Xiao Huamei, was found to have been trafficked from Yagu village in Yunnan Province.
Xiao, who was born in 1977, was married in 1995 and later divorced in 1997 before a woman, identified as Sang, brought her to Jiangsu Province to supposedly help her seek medical treatment and find her a new husband; however, Sang tricked and sold her to a man in Donghai County for 5,000 yuan (approximately $790) in 1998, according to ABC News.
The Jiangsu provincial authorities stated that Sang and her husband had previously been convicted in 2000 for trafficking girls. They were both arrested again on Tuesday.
While this chain of events is still under investigation, Xiao was apparently sold again to a construction foreman by another couple in Henan province who found her “wandering as a beggar,” according to a report reviewed by ABC News. The foreman sold Xiao to a man in Feng County, who then sold her to Mr. Dong before she was found chained around the neck by a vlogger who visited the Huankou village in Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province.
Police have also detained the human traffickers who sold her in Feng County. Mr. Dong, was also arrested on charges of abuse on Thursday.
Dong reportedly took out a marriage license in June 1998 on which he falsified Xiao’s birthdate.
After the video of her uploaded by a vlogger went viral, it was reported that Xiao had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Chinese authorities reportedly fired eight lower-level Communist Party officials, while three were “deprived of freedom of movement” due to an internal party investigation that highlighted their failure to protect public rights and for issuing false information, according to ABC News. Six other officials have also reportedly received internal punishments.