Hundreds of freed child labourers illegally sold by overseers from Sichuan to factories in Dongguan , Guangdong province, have refused to leave the plants despite the brutal conditions, according to mainland media. 'I don't want to go home. My parents have already sold me to the overseers,' a tearful teenage girl named Luo Siqi was quoted as telling a police officer in a report in the Southern Metropolis News yesterday. About 40 children resold to another electronics manufacturer in Dongguan to evade a police crackdown said they were looking forward to working in new 'profitable jobs' that paid 3 yuan (HK$3.34) an hour with mandatory overtime. The report said thousands of children from remote Liangshan county in Sichuan province had been sold to Guangdong factories during the past five years. The children were abused and forced to work under slave-like conditions for 12 hours a day, almost every day. Most children were from ethnic minorities and aged between nine and 15. A dealer in child labourers was quoted as saying that children who were abducted or bought in Sichuan were sold in cities in Guangdong, including Dongguan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Huizhou and Jiangmen . 'In Dongguan, there's a great demand for our child labourers ... who never complain about the excessive workload. They can return children to us anytime when they get sick or suffer industrial injuries. We deal with it,' the dealer said. An unnamed child worker said overseers and their hired thugs used knives to threaten the children not to try to escape. Another said: 'My monthly salary was taken by the overseers, who claimed they sent it back to my parents. They gave me 10 yuan a day to rent a bed and buy food during the low season. That amount meant we could only afford steamed buns - pickled vegetables were an extravagance.' Some girls were raped by their overseers or even resold to brothels. Critics said child labour had been a daily fact of life in Guangdong for years and something to which the government turned a blind eye. Hou Yuangao , a researcher at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing, said dire poverty in the country's ethnic minority regions was the main reason for the trade. 'You may think it's untenable for children to work 13 to 14 hours a day, but about 300 yuan sent by the overseers to their parents can save the entire family from starvation,' Mr Hou was quoted by the Southern Metropolis News as saying. In Liangshan, the mother of one abducted child said she was pleased to know that her son was working in an electronics factory in Dongguan. 'My son was kidnapped in December last year ... I'm glad to know he can eat cooked rice every two to three days,' the malnourished mother was quoted as saying.