Chinese state media say authorities have arrested 10 suspects and freed 32 mentally handicapped people who were being forced to work in brick kilns in eastern China.
The official Xinhua news agency reports that up to 80 policemen raided the two kilns in Anhui province late last month and arrested a kiln boss surnamed Zhang and nine others suspected of holding the workers.
Xinhua quotes police as saying the 10 are suspected of beating the workers and treating them like slaves.
Xinhua says that Zhang told authorities that he bought the laborers from a taxi driver in neighboring Shandong province who had picked them up off the street.
Police say the laborers were forced to work 10 hours a day without pay and were between the ages of 25 and 40. Few could tell where they were from.
Hundreds of brick kiln slaves were freed in 2007 following raids in northern China.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP