China - Forced labour - disabled workers enslaved in factory (2011)

Forced labour is prohibited but occurs in commercial enterprises and labour camps. China imposes forced prison labour as a form of “re-education through labour”, which is an administrative punishment often used for petty criminals, dissidents and labour activists. A similar forced labour system for “rehabilitation” is in force for drug addicts. Trafficking in human beings is also prohibited by law but remains a serious problem. There has not been much progress in prosecuting traffickers and in protecting and assisting victims of trafficking.

Reports of forced labour continued to emerge in 2010. For example, in May 2010 police rescued 34 people forced to work at a brick kiln in Hebei province, and in December media reported the discovery of 11 disabled workers at a building materials plant, Jiaersi Green Construction Material Chemical Factory in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region. The workers had allegedly been beaten regularly and ate the same food as the factory dogs. None of those employed at the factory had ever been paid even though some had been working for four years. Workers attempting to escape had also been beaten. The company owner stated that he had paid an agency a lump sum of 9000 Yuan (USD 1,350) for the delivery of five of the workers and then an additional 300 Yuan per worker per month.

In 2007 a major investigation, instigated by the parents of missing children, found at least several hundred abducted minors and disabled workers forced to work for little or no pay. Estimates state that some 53,000 migrant workers had been employed in more than 2000 illegal brick kilns in Shanxi alone.

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