Police in Shanxi Province rescued another 80 slave
laborers at brick kilns and other illegal workplaces, said a public
security official on Friday.
To date 331 people, including nine children, were freed in
Shanxi, bringing the total number of slave workers rescued in China
to 548, including 217 freed in the neighboring Henan Province.
Shanxi has mobilized more than 14,000 police officers to raid
more than 2,500 brick kilns, coal and iron mines across the
province, according to Du Yulin, director with the provincial
public security bureau.
The local government is contacting the families and the
hometowns of the victims.
Twenty-four suspects have been detained.
Du said authorities have been given a deadline of 10 days to
investigate every brick kiln, coal mine, iron kiln and interview
every worker personally.
Du asked local authorities to crack down on illegal kiln owners
and other criminals with a firm hand and punish officials according
If local officials fail to save all the people before the
deadline, they will face charges of dereliction of duty, Du
Shanxi launched a crackdown on Friday cracking on illegal
workplaces. As of July 15, enterprises must have legal business
licenses and migrant workers must register at public security
bureaus, said Jin Shanzhong, deputy governor of Shanxi.
Employers must provide necessary working and living facilities
for their employees and pay salaries on time. No beatings, overtime
work, or child workers are allowed, he said.
Wang Dongji, Party branch secretary of Caosheng Village, is
being investigated after his son was found to be an owner of the
illegal brick kiln which forced 32 people to work under extremely
Other county-level officials involved in the case are also being
Wang Bingbing, the kiln owner, and three taskmasters have been
detained. Police are hunting for three other suspects in five
Police have rescued 31 people from slavery at the kiln. One
worker was allegedly beaten to death last November.
China's central government will send a team of investigators to
look into the use of "slave labor" at illegal brick kilns in
central China, which has raised great concerns among the
The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS), which will
head the team, said preliminary investigations show the incident
may involve abducted and forced labor.
"The team will find out the truth as soon as possible, and we
will go all out to rescue the workers who had been forced to work
as slaves in the brick kilns," said Sun Baoshu, deputy minister of
MLSS, on Friday.
"The criminal offenders will be dealt with to safeguard the
legal interests of the workers," Sun said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2007)