Beijing, Jan 24 (Agencies): The number of Chinese women trafficked overseas has increased sharply forcing them into prostitution and marriages in foreign countries.

A "growing trend" of transnational crime gangs, has been luring the women, mostly from poor rural areas, the China Daily quoted Chen Shiqu, director of the anti-human trafficking office as saying on Monday.

Forced marriages and prostitution were stated as the reason behind most of the trafficking, he added.

In Malaysia alone, police detained 5,453 Chinese women suspected of engaging in prostitution in November last year.

The Chinese police has busted 9,165 trafficking cases and rescued 17,746 women since April 2009 when the Ministry of Public Security launched a special campaign, the official said.

"Many of the trafficked women were cheated by criminal suspects under the guise of overseas study or high-paid jobs and then forced into prostitution," he said.

Chen said there is an increasing need for more international cooperation as trafficking in other countries can involve various organised crime groups.

China has signed the Mekong River Sub-regional Cooperation Anti-trafficking Memo with Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia and set up an annual senior-official meeting mechanism to help curb international trafficking.

Beijing has also established eight border offices with neighbouring countries, such as Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos, to combat trafficking, he said.

Chinese police have also cooperated with their Russian, British, Australian and Malaysian counterparts in intelligence exchange and investigation, the official said.

Police in China, with the help of foreign counterparts, have carried out a number of successful rescue operations, Chen said.

Last November, police rescued 15 women who had been trafficked from Sichuan province to Africa for prostitution.

Dai Peng, head of the investigation department of the Chinese People's Public Security University, said lack of financial and manpower resources were hindering police efforts to fight international trafficking.

He Yunxiao, a national project coordinator from the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, said international cooperation was vital, as it leads to greater intelligence sharing and the extradition of suspects.