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Police rescue 22 children from forced labour in Guatemala

Update: June, 01/2017 - 11:11

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan police on Wednesday said they rescued 22 children, most of them indigenous, from a ring accused of forcing them to work in various shops, mainly making corn tortillas.

Eight people believed to be involved in the ring were arrested in dozens of raids in the capital Guatemala City, police spokesman Jorge Aguilar told reporters.

He said the minors were brought in from rural areas of the country on promises of proper jobs and accommodation but were then made to work in insalubrious conditions for long hours, of up to 18 hours a day, with poor food and little pay.

Guatemala’s indigenous community, which officially makes up 42 per cent of the population of 15 million, often lives in poverty and marginalisation.

Given their tough existence, some parents prefer to see their children leave school and seek work, but many end up being exploited. — AFP

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