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lost Girls

I guessed the plump girl was pregnant and I asked her about it in a low voice, but she did not quite understand what pregnancy was.

It was very gloomy at that time of the day. It seemed as if it was going to rain, but there were no raindrops. I felt the same deep inside - very gloomy and felt like crying but there were no tears.

I took a ride to the detention room to meet Zhong Haiying with an abducted and trafficked plump girl.

The plump girl looked a little chubby, but very cute. She was just rescued the day before. After seeing the picture of Zhong Haiying from the police officer, she said she was abducted by Zhong Haiying one year ago from Guangzhou Railway Station, and then handed over to three men. The three men beat her and then raped her successively. After that, Zhong Haiying reappeared and told the plump girl that she had been cheated; the three men were very ferocious, but as long as she did as what they asked her to do, they would not beat her again.

And then there came a woman who said that she pitied the plump girl and wanted to rescue her. But the three men asked for 10,000 yuan. The woman said OK, as a result, the plump girl left with that woman.

That woman was called Xiao Wu and had the control over several abducted young girls. She arranged them to work as prostitutes, but all the money got from the prostitution must be handed over to her. She bought fashionable dresses, played mahjong, and also bought some sexy and revealing dresses for the girls. She also told the plump girl that only by wearing revealing dresses can she get the men come to her. Sometimes, if she lost money when playing mahjong, she would beat the plump girl. The plump girl was very afraid of this kind of life – prostitution during the night and beating during the day. She said Zhong Haiying should take all the blame.The plump girl had a wonderful life before. Her father was the director of a police station in a county of Hubei, and her mother loved her very much. She came to Guangzhou to meet her cousin, but unfortunately met Zhong Haiying and Zhong Haiying changed her destiny.

For two years, she did not have any chance to contact her family. She tried several times calling 110, but all the people there knew that she was under the control of traffickers. And Xiao Wu had an agreement with them to watch her together, so she had no opportunity to make a call. The phone keeper did not allow her to get close to the phone either. She wanted to walk farther to make a call on one occasion, but was taken back by the hotel people when she just got to the telephone booth.

The plump girl felt deeply helpless. Though she was watched only by Xiao Wu, the traffickers were like a devil’s net, getting her trapped. She had no freedom and no dignity, and she was a butterfly trapped by a spider web, unable to escape.

She told me about her terrible life.

For countless horrible and humiliating nights, she served naked men one after another in disgust. As a 17 years old girl, she did not understand in any case where such a large number of men came from, where their dignity and personality was when they got naked in front of her and twisted their bodies, why they did not spend their money on their parents and kids etc. She had numerous questions to ask, but she could not organize these thoughts in a logical manner. She just told me slowly and intermittently about her feelings and her doubts. At last, she said she felt sick when she saw those men.

The plump girl felt like vomiting, so we stopped the car. She got off the car, squatted on the ground and vomited for a while. I gave her 10 yuan, and she went to a stall and bought some green plums. After getting back in the car, she ate the plums one after another. She gave me one, and I took a bite and spat. It was too sour.

I guessed the plump girl was pregnant and I asked her about it in a low voice, but she did not quite understand what pregnancy was.

I asked whether she knew what to do if she got pregnant. She shook her head and continued eating the sour plums.

The smiling plump girl burst into tears when approaching the detention room. She said in low voice: “I must give Zhong Haiying a big slap when I see her. She destroyed me!”

When we arrived at the detention room, I asked her to meet Zhong Haiying alone, while I would wait her at the door.

But she began to shake, which was apparently caused by panic. She told me that she did not dare to meet Zhong Haiying. She was afraid of her, and she did not dare to recall the memories of Zhong Haiying handing her over to three men for beating and raping.

Her voice and tone even changed with the shaking.

I told her not to worry about that, because there were police all around, and Zhong Haiying was handcuffed. But she still begged me to enter the room with her. (Evening, April 27, 2000)

Therefore, I went into the detention room with her.

Zhong Haiying was somewhat confounded for a moment when she saw the plump girl. The plump girl said to Zhong Haiying in a mosquito-like voice:

“Do you know me?”, and then ran out of the room.

I got out too. She told me: "I do not want to slap her now. She is also very poor, the pustule on her hands, and the handcuffs ..."

Then she got to the back of the car and squatted on the ground to vomit.

I went back to the detention room again, and asked Zhong Haiying whether she felt better about the pustule, because A Mang, a policeman, bought her some medicine the day before.

Before the sound of my voice had died away, she rushed over towards me, with her handcuffed hands grasping the railing. She had jaw-length short hair, and looked very young. You just cannot believe that she was a trafficker who had abducted 5 young girls. It was said that whoever abducted three persons or more would be sentenced to death. Now since there were three girls testifying against her, would she be brought to the place of execution?

I looked at her with a myriad of thoughts. She burst into tears, looking at me and kept asking:

“Have you found my brother yet? Have you found my brother yet?”

“Not yet,” I said, “If you had not lied to the police, the police would have caught Liu Laowu and He Xiaojing. They know where your brother is, but now it is too late.”

“So I will never find my brother? Is it true that I will never see my brother?” She kept crying and almost passed out. I did not know how to comfort her, only feeling that her emotions at that time were from deep within her heart. I believed she really had a younger brother, and she did what the traffickers asked her to do really only for her younger brother.

However, because of fear, this simple girl did not call Liu Laowu and He Xiaojing, but called Hou Li instead, resulting in Liu Laowu’s and He Xiaojing’s escape. This was also her fault. If He Xiaojing cannot be found, we would never know where her younger brother is.

I was touched by Zhong Haiying’s despair, and I told her not to lie to police again and to honestly cooperate with the police.

At the moment when I turned around and was about to leave, she suddenly knelt down and shouted: “I have no husband. He is not my husband. He is a trafficker. He forced me into prostitution, but later on I got sick, and men do not want me like that. Then he asked me to abduct girls. A few days ago, he asked me to go to the train station, but I did not dare to go, so he beat me and threatened that if I could not abduct girls, he would break my legs...”

I stopped, turned around and looked at her. She could not help crying.

“Please, I beg you. Ask them to rescue my brother. He is the only person who is good to me in this world. Please”, she cried and said.

“Where is your mother?” I asked her out of curiosity.

“My dad died when I was two years old, and then my mother married my stepfather, with me and my brother living together.When I was 14, my stepfather beat me, raped me and forced me into prostitution at the hair salon. I stole 200 yuan from him one day and ran away from home with my brother.”

“At Guangzhou Railway Station, I encountered He Xiaojing. He said he could help me to find a job, then took me to Puning, and handed me over to the current ‘Big Brother’. ‘Big Brother’ raped me, and forced me into prostitution, serving six or seven men each day. If I did not do it, he would beat me. And he threatened me if I did not do as he told me, he would kill my brother....” She cried and fainted again.

The plump girl was standing at the door, and her eyes were filled with tears. She even did not hate Zhong Haiying at all.

When Zhong Haiying was locked in the detention room once again, my heart trembled slightly for a moment. Other women might suffer miseries because of weakness, but she committed crimes because of weakness.

Sympathy? Mercy? Hate? Regrets? Of course, none of these words could describe my feelings at that time.

When we got back to the car, the plump girl said: “In fact, she is also very poor. Don’t sentence her to death. But she is also very hateful. She should not have harmed others. she deserves it.” She used the simplest words to summarize it.

Indeed, I sympathized for Zhong Haiying’s experience, but when I saw the growing belly of the innocent plump girl, and the indelible fear from deep inside her, and thought about the nonchalance of Zhong Haiying when she handed over those girls to the men for beating and raping, I knew I should not sympathize for her.

Although she was very unfortunate, but she had committed a crime. She would be punished by law. (April 28, 2000)

She loved her “brother” and wanted to earn some money to get him out.

The bustling hotel suddenly became quite today. The rescued girls woke up from the joy of freedom, starting to consider their future. In a short time, the girls quarreled with each other and burst into tears. They were divided into several groups.

After supper, I came to Xiaoli’s room seeing that she was quarreling with Xiaohong. The minute they caught sight of me, they complained about each other to me.

“She is so forgetful that she wants to love her ‘brother’ and earn money to get him out!” said Xiaohong.

“I have loved him from the moment he saved me from the human trafficker. I will be grateful to him for my entire life. You just have no conscience.” argued Xiaoli.

“Thank him? Are you kidding? He turned you into a hooker. If he was really nice to you, he won’t let you be a hooker. Are you out of your mind?” cried Xiaohong.

“He spent 100, 000 yuan to buy me. I just want to give the money back to him and he promised me that we could marry if we have 20,000 yuan.”

“Let me tell you. He also promised me, and everyone else! Believe me!” said Xiaohong.

Xiaoli suddenly burst into tears.

“Don’t say that. He's not what you said.”

“Do you ever know that he has a wife?” asked Xiaohong.

“Yes, but he said that he would divorce her and marry me.” answered Xiaoli, seriously.

“Is that possible? You even believe that!” laughed Xiaohong.

Xiaoli stood up and went out with the words “I don’t want to quarrel with you”.

The sight of that reminded me of arresting Xiaoli’s “brother”. The car where her “brother” sat was being fueled at the gas station. When several girls came back from the toilet, they just passed by the car but Xiaoli approached the car. She held and touched his cuffed hands affectionately. I was so astonished that she already ran back but I couldn’t still bring myself back.

That time I understood her behaviors. As a saying goes, you are already sold and you are counting the money for the seller. I just encountered the real instance.

Those uneducated girls are endowed with female natures such as goodness, innocence, and longing for a beautiful life. However, ignorance and lack of education make them weak, naïve, and finally irrational. Human traffickers take advantages of their longing for a beautiful life and cheat them.

This really is a female tragedy. If the female want rescue themselves, they must eagerly improve personal quality.

When my mind was wandering, A Hui and A Luo started quarreling.

A Hui said that they would go home and A Luo argued that villagers would joke and point at them and they could imagine that their mothers never gave birth to them.

It seemed that A Hui was touched and so she became silent. All girls were deep in thought.

Yeah, should they go back home? It seems that they cannot decide this by themselves.

At that moment, a girl cursed: “Fuck you! Never think too much! Just live day by day.”

I was surprised that she cussed so freely. I felt again that the rescue for them may have just started.

I suffered from insomnia that night. Even in my dream, I kept thinking what those girls’ futures held, would they take all the responsibilities for their tragedies, and who could help them?

(Evening, April 28, 2000)

A girl, named A Fang, who was rescued last time, went to Shenzhen City from her hometown for serving as a prostitute in a karaoke bar

In the morning, a burst of giggles came to our ear from the corridor of the hotel. The abducted girls would leave the hell that brought them too many sufferings, today. Their happy and excited look would not suggest you that they had led a miserable life in the past. At that time, I sighed for their naivety that made them know nothing about what is waiting for them. They had a long way to go for the rest of their life, and they didn't know that prostitution would not only hurt their bodies and hearts in the past, but also let the social notion change their life in the future.

When a minibus of Liuhua Branch was carrying the rescued girls out of the Lanhua Hotel, the girls shouted out and A Lan said that she will not return to this place ever.

On the way, the rescued girls sang songs.

Team leader Wang asked: “Would you like to leave this place?”

All the rescued girls said: “We would like to go.”

Team leader, Wang Chennan, said: “When we arrive in Guangzhou City, we will buy you train tickets and send you home.”

Most girls looked at each other in speechless despair and only several girls whispered that they wanted to go home, so much. A Li cried, which caused the other girls to cry as well.

When team leader Wang was speaking his cellphone rang.

“Hello, this is Wang Chennan. Is that Zhang Tao speaking?”

“Why are you still in Guangdong Province? Haven't they sent you home?”

“Can't you just stay in the rest house and don't run around? What? Offer you a job? Jesus Christ! You are only 14 years old! How can we offer a job to a girl of your age?”

And then, team leader Wang said to me “Alas, this is an underage girl who had been rescued by us last time. We tried to send her home twice but she just ran out.”

That girl, Zhang Tao attracted my attention.

When we reached Guangzhou City, I went to the rest house on the other side of the road in front of Liuhua Branch. All rescued girls were accommodated in that rest house and Liuhua Branch had to pay tens of thousands Yuan for their accommodation. I wondered whether Zhang Tao knew this situation.

The girl, Zhang Tao, was standing in front of a window and staring at the prosperous street, the most prosperous street around the railway station when I opened the door. She was so attracted by the prosperous street and did not realize I was just behind her.

“Are you Zhang Tao?” I asked.

She turned back and looked at me. Because she had known the dirty things in this world too early, her mature eyes would not suggest you that she is only 14 years old.

She looked at me up and down with her sophisticated eyesight, mixed with protection and exploration. And then, she smiled.

“Yeah, I am Zhang Tao. What's up?” She answered.

“Nothing special, I just want to talk to you.” I said.

“I don't want to talk to you.” She said and stared out of the window.

“Are you interested in the outside world?” I asked.

“Not interested. I stare out of the window just for Zhang Huan. She wanted to jump out from this window but I held her tightly. If she really jumped out, she must have been dead. If she died, she would see nothing any more. And, what is the thing that we humans are living for?” She sighed.

The girl, Zhang Huan, mentioned by Zhao Tao was interviewed by me 18 days ago. She lived here. She was only 13 years old, with a naive and innocent look. She was abducted and forced to be a prostitute. When we left at that time, A Fang said that they had informed Zhang Huan's parents to fetch her home and she (A Fang) had bought them train tickets.

“Did Zhang Huan's father come to fetch her?” I asked Zhang Tao.

“Yeah. But her father just beat her when seeing her. Zhang Huan dodged and her father abused her with bad words. And Zhang Huan cried out that: that man was not her father and she would not go back home with him. Before her father was going to bring her home, she ran to jump out of this window and didn't want to go home any more. What a poor thing!” Zhang Tao said and tears welled in her young eyes.

“Do you know why she would not like to go back home?” I asked.

“Of course. We have the same poor destiny, just because we are girls.” She said.

“And why don't you go back home?” I asked.

“I am a girl treat the self esteem as a very important thing. When I was born, my mother disliked me just because I am not a boy. In fact, I want to go home and try to be close to my mother. But she dislikes me and she has never given me any love.” She said.

“You should try to talk to your mother. Maybe you just misunderstand her!” I said.

“It is not true. If I were a boy, she will not treat me like this. And all my neighbors learned that I had worked as a prostitute when I went back home. My mother disliked and avoided me. All my family members abused me everyday. I hate them, I hate them all.” She said relentlessly.

At this time, Li Yong and I said lots of things about love and life to her with patience. She just snickered while listening to us. Finally, she said as she was very sophisticated: “Both of you are good men. But you can't persuade me to go home.” She organized her thoughts and said again “I will not stay here forever. I will hunt for job tomorrow, and I can afford myself.” She raised her head with a headstrong and confident look.

A few days later, we received a messenger call from her. The phone number was from the outskirts.

We called her and found out that she had got a job in a hair salon for washing others' hair. She explained that only this hair salon would like to keep her.

“I am so scared that I can’t sleep at night. Both of my bosses are men, they force me to watch pornographic videos with them at night and they always sexually harass me.”

“Yesterday, boss brought another girl back and wanted me to manage prostitutes for him.”

“Will you do that?”

“I will not. That girl is just like me, a poor thing, but I can’t just let her go. And I am so scared; my boss always wants me to start working as a prostitute again. I always find someplace to hide myself when the whoremaster comes.”

“You'd better go home; otherwise, you will follow the same old disastrous road.” I said.

“No, it is impossible. I know their dirty tricks. The only problem in front of me is to find a job.” She said.

“You are only 14 years old. You should go back to study in school.”

“Stop. Don't try to persuade me any more. I won't go back home. I have tried to go back to school, but my classmates always gossiped about me. I can't bear that.” She said in a stubborn manner.

I can do nothing to help her. (April 29, 2000)

I received a messenger call from Zhang Tao this evening again. She told me that the girl, A Fang, who was rescued last time, went to Shenzhen City from her hometown for serving as a prostitute in a karaoke bar. The difference is that, she was forced to serve as a prostitute in the past; but this time, she chose to be a prostitute of her own accord. And A Fang told her that she can't find other jobs because of her past prostitution.

Then, Zhang Tao told me

“I have found a new job. After tomorrow, I will not contact you any more.”

“Why?”

“Because all of you are good persons, you care about me and enlighten me. But I can’t, really, I can’t. I have to feed myself. I have to earn some money.” “What job have you found?”

“Prostitution again.” She said. I tried to persuade her at once and told her that if she begins to work as a prostitute of her own accord, she will be sent for reeducation through labor. I tried my best to explain the aftermath that may occur due to her decision for three hours.

Finally, she said, “You are right. But the actual life has been so cruel to me, I have to survive.” Her voice does not suggest that she is only 14.

“To be honest, we look down on the whoremasters very much. If it were not for their money, I will not even glance at them. Son of a bitch!” She abused.

“Anyway, you can't treat yourself like that. Go home, please.” I said steadily.

“I don’t want you to pay for me any more,” she said “I have to be independent. That’s all, I have to go. Bye.” And then she hung up the phone.

When I called back, the one who received my call said that the girl had left.

When I was worrying about Zhang Tao, our playwright-director, Sha Bifang called me and told me that Mi Wen had called her. Mi Wen, a rescued Sichuan girl, was wandering in the Beijing railway station. When she left home this time, she brought only one train ticket with her. And she had told Fang Fang that she went home with a warm aspiration, but only got her mother's anger. Her parents quarreled with each other because she was abducted. Mi Wen couldn’t stay at home any more and took a train to Beijing.

I called another director, Zhou Yanglin, who was receiving IV drip in Beijing Hospital and asked him to find Mi Wen at Beijing railway station.

When I hung up the telephone, the day was going to break. In this deep night, no one knows what stories are going on. Heroines of the story I wrote are all abducted girls, I was so messed up.

I fell asleep some time. (May 3, 2000)

At the interval of our shooting, Deng Shoudu, criminal police of Liuhua Branch, told us the experience of their rescue in northern Guangdong. When I asked where are the rescued girls right now, he sighed and said: “Most of them went back to being prostitutes. It really disappoints us very much. We tried so hard to rescue them, but they… We really feel it is unfair. But we have to rescue them again for the interests of everyone.”

I replied “yeah, we should not only put the interests of everyone above everything else but also confirm the necessity to rescue the abducted girls without considering their return to prostitution. The rescued girls need reeducation, especially those who had been forced to be prostitutes. Besides, they need time to cure their mind. We can't just rescue them and let them go. We should set up mental sanatorium, transition school, and an asylum for reforming the girls by our love, etc. All in all, we can't just let them go home directly. Besides, it is the society’s responsibility to do it, not only yours.”

When saying these words, a thought suddenly came to my mind that we should discuss about their way after being rescued in the “Teas in Heaven” and invite some famous people in all fields to give their suggestions.

Well, I will do this.

Abstracted from Hi Culture World (Issue: September 2000)



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