63 child labourers rescued in Mexico

Mexico City, Aug 21 (IANS) At least 63 children, who were made to work long hours in a vegetable packing company in the Mexican state of Coahuila, have been rescued, officials said.

The children were found in poor conditions, sleeping on the floor and in various states of malnutrition, Xinhua news agency on Friday quoted Victor Zamora, Coahuila secretary of government, as saying.

Six people were arrested and they confessed that the children, of whom the youngest was eight years old, were tricked into being taken to the El Higo community in the Ramos Arizpe town, 70 km of Monterrey city, and forced to pick vegetables on a farm there.

The minors told authorities that they were given two meals a day, had only a half-day off each week and were paid 100 pesos ($6) a day, slightly higher than the minimum wage of about 70 pesos ($4).

The illegal child exploitation was discovered when one of the fathers of the children denounced the operation to the police.

Reports said the minors were recruited through advertisements. It is still unknown to what extent the parents agreed, or knew, about the conditions their children would be working in.

Zamora stipulated that more than 100 children were working in such conditions but that many ran away during the raid, with only 63 being taken in.

The children are now being taken care of in various shelters, with the authorities seeking to bring them back to their homes.

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