Child Slavery Scandal Blows Up in China

Kids kidnapped, sent to work in brick kilns rescued in giant crackdown
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jun 16, 2007 11:39 AM CDT
A parent looks for a lost child at a brick kiln at Liuwu Village in Yuncheng, in China's Shanxi province Friday, June 15, 2007. Some 1,000 parents, who suspect their children have been kidnapped and forced...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A child labor scandal is rocking rural China as information surfaces on kidnapped children forced to work as slaves in the country's brick factories. In crackdowns this week, nearly 50,000 police in two Chinese provinces have rescued 550 people, including dozens of the thousands of children believed to be enslaved, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Parents of the abducted children used the Internet to turn the issue into a cause célèbre after complicit government officials, often paid off by kiln owners, stonewalled their efforts. But the children who return to them are often not the ones they knew. "My son was totally dumb, not even knowing how to cry, or to scream, or to call out 'father,'" one parent told the New York Times.