The parents of more than 400 missing children have posted a second joint
letter online, urging authorities to step up their efforts to rescue slave
workers across the country.
A parent looks for a his lost child at a brick kiln at Liuwu
Village in Yuncheng, in China's Shanxi Province June 15,
"The slavery case in Hongtong County that caused a great stir in the country
is only the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of laborers are still suffering and in
pain. Please save our children!" the letter said.
The parents, most of them from Central China's Henan Province, believe their
missing children have been abducted or coaxed into child labor in neighboring
Shanxi Province, and are therefore in need of rescue.
The Xiaoxiang Morning Post quoted some parents as saying they had seen some
of the rescued children on the same buses as their own youngsters, on their way
In a previous letter sent out earlier this month, one of the parents surnamed
Yuan said he received a phone call from his son in May, saying he was being
forced to work in a kiln in Shanxi.
The boy said the owner of the brick kiln had said he would release him if his
father paid 35,000 yuan ($4,600).
parents said they had been intimidated by kiln owners while looking for their
children near Yuncheng in Shanxi.
Local police offered no help, they said.
A police officer with the Shanxi provincial bureau of public security who did
not gave his name said some of the owners of illegal kilns might have
transferred slave laborers to other places before the police operation. "We will
bring them to justice if we have enough evidence," he said.
Li Yingming, a senior official with Hongtong County, where one of the first
cases of forced labor was exposed, said only two of the 95 brick kilns in the
county had licenses.
And even those might be counterfeit, he said.
After Shanxi Governor Yu Youjun openly criticized his provincial
administration for the recent slavery cases at a meeting of the State Council on
Wednesday, it yesterday vowed to crack down on such abuses of labor.
It also promised to pay compensation to the victims and ensure they were
returned home safely. It will launch a special campaign to examine the
recruitment and use of labor in companies throughout the province, especially
those in remote rural areas.
As of Tuesday, police in Shanxi and Henan said they had detained more than
130 people suspected of being involved in human trafficking and had freed 591
workers, including 51 children.