Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chinese Fathers Rescue Children From Slavery

We were talking about child labor the other day... and the kind we were speaking of, for the most part, involved children who were working in order to help support their families. But here is a story about a different kind of child labor.
In China, operators of kils where bricks are made have been known to use slave labor... including children. At least 1,000 children, as young as 8 years old, have been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Most of them were kidnapped around train or bus stations.
A group of about 400 fathers, frustrated that they were getting little help from the police or anyone else, launched their own mission to find and rescue their children. Their battle plan has included creating an online petition to alert people all over the world about missing children, distributing information and pictures of missing children... and, since they have been getting very little support from the police, even traveling deep into the mountains, on their own, to find the kilns and rescue the children.
Typically the children are guarded by thugs, so it is difficult to get to them... but the fathers have managed to locate and rescue 40 children so far,
While in slavery, children were forced to work up to 20 hours a day. They were beaten if they tried to escape, and even had their backs burnt by hot bricks. They were only fed bread and water.
Now that these fathers have made this issue public, authorities in the area are under more pressure to help get the children back. Previously, some authorities helped to rescue children, but then turned around and sold the children into slavery again, to different kilns.
40 children are now safe, now... and hopefully, that is just the beginning

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