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Crackdown to Target Slave Labor
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The authorities will launch a nationwide crackdown on illegal labor practices focusing on small brick kilns, coal-mines and workshops, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security said yesterday.

The campaign will run from July to August.

The two-month crackdown follows the revelation of the use of forced labor in brick kilns in Shanxi Province.

Investigations into slavery and forced labor will be another focus of the campaign.

Medical care and compensation should be given to the rescued slave laborers, the notice said, noting that government officials involved in forced labor scandals would be punished severely.

Some 359 people, including 12 children, have been rescued from illegal brick kilns in Shanxi, a joint investigation group announced last Friday.

Liu Jinguo, vice minister of Public Security, said at the meeting that the ministry will check the registrations of migrant workers in small brick kilns, coal-mines and workshops in the countryside.

"More will be done to crack down on illegal labor agencies and foremen to curb the use of forced labor", Liu said, adding that the ministry will post a phone number and e-mail address so people can provide information about illegal labor practices.

As of June 18, police had detained 168 people accused of holding workers in slavery under appalling conditions at small brick kilns and mines in Shanxi and Henan provinces.

The use of slave workers hit the headlines after a letter was posted on the Internet earlier this month by more than 400 parents in Henan who believed their missing children had been sold to the small brick kilns as slave workers.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2007)

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