A total of 1,340 people, including 367 mentally challenged, were rescued from factories and mines using forced labour since the notorious brick kiln slavery scandal was exposed in north China's Shanxi Province, a joint investigation group reported on Mondya.
During the campaign to crack down on illegal kilns, mines and workshops, 277,000 work units with 12.67 million workers were inspected, vice minister of Labour and Social Security and head of the investigation group, Sun Baoshu said.
67,000 or 24.2 per cent of the kilns, mines and workshops inspected nationwide were found operating without licenses.
More than half of the 185,000 cases registered during the inspection concerned to employing workers without contracts and, in 37 per cent of the cases, the owner failed to provide workers with social security insurance.
A total of 147 people were arrested and some 98,000 working units which used workers with no contract were ordered to sign the contracts with 1.5 million workers and pay overdue salaries and compensation totalling 130 million yuan (about USD 17 million).
The use of forced labourers hit the headlines after more than 400 parents in central China's Henan Province posted an on-line petition, calling for help in rescuing their children who had been kidnapped to work in small brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan as forced labourers.
An employee of a brick kiln at the centre of the forced labour scandal has been sentenced to death for manslaughter and unlawful detention, the foreman was sentenced to life term in prison and boss of the kiln was given a jail term of nine years. A total of 95 Communist Party officials in Shanxi have been punished in the wake of the slave labour scandal.