updated 2/10/2011 9:19:21 PM ET 2011-02-11T02:19:21

An online campaign to gather photos of children begging on China's streets is helping reunite families riven by kidnappings. It is also pressuring authorities to do more to prevent gangs from kidnapping and exploiting the children.

Many of the children seen begging in Chinese cities are snatched from their families by kidnappers and then sold into virtual slavery, put to work by gangs that sometimes maim them to elicit greater pity.

State media reports said Friday that several families have been reunited with their abducted offspring since Beijing-based social researcher Yu Jianrong launched a campaign urging people to post photos of such children on microblogs — websites similar to Twitter.

Related story:Missing child reunited with dad after three years

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