1,340 rescued from forced labor

Updated: 2007-08-13 18:22

TAIYUAN -- A total of 1,340 people, 367 of whom are mentally handicapped, have been rescued from forced labor since the notorious brick kiln forced labor scandal came to light in June, a joint investigation group reported on Monday afternoon.

During the campaign to crack down on illegal kilns, mines and workshops, 277,000 work units with 12.67 million workers were inspected, said Sun Baoshu, vice minister of Labor and Social Security and head of the investigation group, which represents the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of Public Security and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Police found that 67,000, or 24.2 percent of the kilns, mines and workshops inspected nationwide were operating without licenses.

They registered 185,000 cases during the inspection, more than half of which concerned employing workers without contracts and, in 37 percent of the cases, the owner failed to provide workers with social security insurance.

One hundred and forty seven people were arrested and some 98,000 working units which used uncontracted workers were ordered to sign the contracts with 1.5 million workers and pay overdue salaries and compensation totaling 130 million yuan (US$17m).

The use of forced laborers hit the headlines after more than 400 parents in central China's Henan Province posted an online petition, calling for help in rescuing their children who had been kidnapped to work in small brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan as forced laborers.

An employee of a brick kiln at the center of the forced labor scandal has been sentenced to death for manslaughter and unlawful detention, the foreman was sentenced life imprisonment and boss of the kiln was given a jail term of nine years. A total of 95 Party officials in Shanxi have been punished in the wake of the slave-like labor scandal.

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