248 rescued from slavery in brick kilns
Chinese police have rescued 248 people who had been forced to work as 'slaves'
in brick kilns, while widespread crackdown is underway.
Police in central Henan Province have rescued 217 people, including 29
children, and detained 120 suspects after a 4-day crackdown campaign involving
more than 35,000 police to check 7,500 kilns in the province.
In the area around Xinxiang, north of Zhengzhou, police raided 20 brick kilns
on Saturday and rescued 23 people including 16 children.
Laborers had been enticed or kidnapped and transported to the kilns by human
traffickers. Upon arrival they were beaten, starved and forced to work long
hours without pay.
In the past two weeks, Chinese media have exposed the plight of children held
captive in brick kilns in neighboring Shanxi Province and photos of distraught
parents have appeared in the press.
It is reported that 400 Henan fathers have went to the remote mountains in
Shanxi to track down missing sons who they believe were sold to kilns.
Qin Yuhai, vice governor and police chief of Henan, said "we must do
everything we can to fight human trafficking and rescue those being held
In north China's Shanxi Province, police have rescued 31 people who were
forced to work under extremely cruel conditions in brick kilns and detained five
Wang Bingbing, owner of an illegal brick kiln, and four accomplices, were
detained after police found they had forced 32 people who had been abducted or
lured from railways stations of Henan and Shanxi.
Nine of the 32 were mentally disabled. One worker, born as mentally
handicapped, was beaten to death last November, local police said.
Guarded by taskmaster and dogs, they were forced to work 15 to 16 hours per
day, and finish their meals of steamed bread and water within 15 minutes. The
workers sleep on the ground in a darkroom without heating system in freezing
Police are still hunting for another suspect from Henan.
The kiln was based in Caosheng Village of Hongtong County. Wang was the son
of a village head, according to Wang Xingwang, deputy chairman with the
provincial workers' union.
The kiln's bank accounts have been frozen.
Yang Aizhi, a 46-year-old mother, was one of the people who alerted the
public to the scandal.
Her 16-year-old son went missing on March 8 and she has been searching for
him ever since. On her travels she heard that the child might have been
kidnapped and forced to work at kilns in Shanxi.
Yang went to more than 100 kilns in Shanxi and discovered that "most kilns
were forcing children to do hard labor," she was quoted as saying in the
Southern Weekly. Some children were still wearing their school uniforms.
When the children were too tired to push carts, they were whipped by
taskmasters, said Yang.
Yang tried to rescue some of the children but was threatened by kiln owners.
She has yet to find her son.
Yang and other parents who suspect their children have been kidnapped and
forced to work in illegal kilns told their story to a TV station in Zhengzhou in
Zhang Wenlong was one of the 31 people rescued from the kiln in Caosheng
village. Zhang, 17, called the kiln he had worked at as "prison".
Zhang says he was abducted in March from the Zhengzhou Railway Station and
worked at a kiln for three months until he burned his hand on bricks that had
not yet cooled.
Zhang was watched by thugs and six ferocious dogs, making it impossible to
His taskmaster refused him hospital treatment but provided medicines that had
The county government has allocated 200,000 yuan (about 26,300 U.S. dollars)
to provide a salary to the victims.
Nine of the rescued have returned home and government officials are
accompanying 15 others to their homes. Seven of the people who were rescued have
disappeared as police believe they may have been so traumatized they simply
The crackdown campaign was launched in 11 cities of Shanxi. There have been
raids on coal mines, brick kilns, private contractors and small-sized
enterprises after media reports revealed that hundreds of children in Henan
Province had been kidnapped and forced to work in kilns in Shanxi.
The crackdown is still underway in case more people are suffering in kilns
and other illegal workplaces.