Slave labour exposed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2007, 12:00am


Parents of children feared to have been abducted and forced to work in brick kilns have appealed to the government to step up rescue efforts.


In Shanxi province . Illegal kilns in Henan province have also been raided.


How many children are missing? At least 400 children. There are fears that some kiln owners may have hidden abducted children to escape punishment.


When did the children go missing? Some of them have been missing for more than a year. The parents of the missing children launched an appeal last month, exposing the slave trade. It led to a police crackdown and the rescue of 591 abducted labourers, including at least 51 children.


Why were they abducted? To work as slaves in small, illegal kilns where they were forced to make bricks from clay. The kiln slaves were lured there with false promises, then beaten, starved and forced to work long hours for no pay.


Who has been arrested? At least 120 suspects have so far been arrested. Last Wednesday another two suspects surrendered to police. They are believed to have been hired by a kiln owner to stop the abducted children from escaping.