AP Exclusive: 629 Pakistani girls sold as brides to China

FILE - In this May 22, 2019 file photo, Sumaira a Pakistani woman, shows a picture of her Chinese husband in Gujranwala, Pakistan. Sumaira, who didn't...
In this Nov. 21, 2019 photo, a pile of documents related to the trafficking of Pakistani brides to China is displayed in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Asso...
FILE - In this April 14, 2019 file photo, Pakistani Christian Mahek Liaqat, who married a Chinese national, cries as she narrates her ordeal, in Gujra...
FILE - In this May 11, 2019 file photo, detained Chinese nationals, accused of involvement in a trafficking gang to lure Pakistani women into fake mar...
In this Nov. 11, 2019 photo, Christian activist Saleem Iqbal talks to The Associated Press regarding Pakistani brides trafficked to China, in Faisalab...

FILE - In this May 22, 2019 file photo, Sumaira a Pakistani woman, shows a picture of her Chinese husband in Gujranwala, Pakistan. Sumaira, who didn't...

In this Nov. 21, 2019 photo, a pile of documents related to the trafficking of Pakistani brides to China is displayed in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Asso...

FILE - In this April 14, 2019 file photo, Pakistani Christian Mahek Liaqat, who married a Chinese national, cries as she narrates her ordeal, in Gujra...

FILE - In this May 11, 2019 file photo, detained Chinese nationals, accused of involvement in a trafficking gang to lure Pakistani women into fake mar...

In this Nov. 11, 2019 photo, Christian activist Saleem Iqbal talks to The Associated Press regarding Pakistani brides trafficked to China, in Faisalab...

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A government list shows 629 Pakistani girls from across the country have been sold as brides to China, most between 2018 and early 2019.

The list — obtained by The Associated Press — was compiled by Pakistani investigators determined to break up trafficking networks.

But in recent months, their aggressive drive has ground to a halt, and officials with knowledge of the investigations say that is because of pressure from the Pakistani government fearful of hurting ties with China.

But the biggest case against traffickers has fallen apart.

In October, a court in Faisalabad acquitted 31 Chinese nationals charged in connection with trafficking. Several of the women who had initially been interviewed by police refused to testify because they were either threatened or bribed into silence.