Several unscrupulous employment agencies in a central Chinese city are reportedly recruiting migrant workers and selling them as slaves where they are subjected to dreadful working conditions.
Several such unlicensed agencies function from hidden around the railway station in Zhengzhou, a transportation hub that is the capital of Henan Province, a media report said.
A complete network from recruitment to distribution was formed to sell migrant workers to do physical work in mines, quarries and kilns under dreadful working conditions with little or no pay, the Economic Information Daily reported on Sunday.
The daily illustrated the case of 28-year-old Zhu Wei, who had just arrived in Zhengzhou to look for a job in April. A man offered him a job in a paint factory at a monthly salary of 1,500 yuan (USD 235).
Zhu was then led to a hostel and locked in a room with 10-plus others who appeared "mentally retarded," the report said.
The next day, the group was sent to several quarries in eastern Shandong Province.
"We didn't have any protection and were directly exposed in the dust. Cameras were installed on the walls to prevent us from escape," Zhu told the newspaper.
Zhu managed to flee the quarry and reported the case to the police. Six suspects at the quarry have been arrested.
Prosecutors say it was difficult to go after the illegal employment agencies partly because they were well-disguised and it was hard to collect evidence.