NEW DELHI, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The Indian government has rescued about 500 boys, ages 5 to 14, from sweatshops in New Delhi where they had been subjected to violence and hard labor.
The boys, from the poor eastern state of Bihar or Nepal, had been forced to work 10 hour days in cramped conditions. The youngsters will either be sent back to their parents or to social welfare homes, said a spokesman for the capital's labor department, Sky News reported.
Iftikar, one of the boys, told a local newspaper his employer "would beat up the trainees and even lock them up in rooms if they did not cooperate."
Small embroidery shops across India use agents to round up children from poor families for the delicate work that requires small, nimble fingers. Authorities in several cities have launched raids to halt the widespread practice.