More Than 53,000 Enslaved Workers Used in Brick Kilns

“Brick kilns and mines at the centre of a slave labour scandal used more than 53,000 illegal migrant workers, a Xinhua reported today. Fan Duixiang, a senior member of the Shanxi provincial congress, said investigations found that 2,036 of the 3,347 firms it had raided were operating without the necessary licences and illegally using 53,036 migrant workers.

So far nearly 600 people, including dozens of under-aged children, have been released from slavery in Shanxi and Henan province.

The rescue was sparked by an internet petition posted by concerned parents in early June that said up to 1,000 children were languishing in the brickyards and small mines, triggering widespread attention.

In the past two weeks thousands of policemen have raided more than 8,000 brickyards and small coal mines in the two provinces in an effort to end the slave labour.

Still, the parents of 400 missing children last week launched a fresh internet appeal, saying their children had still not turned up and expressing fears that the youths could have been hidden by brickyard bosses.”

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