A photo of one of the girls which was uploaded as part of the initial Sina Weibo post.
Seven female primary school students have been enticed into working in a Dongguan toy factory after being driven in a van from their native Liangshan in Sichuan Province. Authorities in both cities are now conducting a search for the girls, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.
Interestingly, it was a post on Sina Weibo that spurred authorities in the remote part of Sichuan into action.
After a December 4 post on Sina Weibo claimed the seven girls had been taken away in a van on Sunday, authorities in Zhaojue County, where the girls went to school, confirmed that they were missing.The post has been forwarded almost 9,000 times.
A teacher from the school, who refused to be named, said the girls ranged in age from 11 to 14 and none of them were particularly good students.
The Liangshan Public Security Bureau began conducting a search yesterday. After one of the girls called home, authorities in Zhaojue were able to verify that the girls were in Dongguan, confirming some of what the initial microblog post had claimed.
A further investigation was able to verify that the girls are working illegally in a toy factory in the city but are safe.
Authorities are confident they will find the girls and bring them home, but their future is highly unlikely to be rosy.
The county is dirt poor and agriculture is the only source of income. A farmer in the county can expect to earn around 923 yuan a year. The girls’ school is the most prestigious in the area but that says very little as all but a tiny few students are expected to start working at 15 or 16 years old.
In 2008, 76 students went missing from the county, the youngest of which was 7. Forty-two are known to have started working in factories.