URUMQI, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said Sunday that they have tracked down and rescued 1,332 vagrant Xinjiang children in other parts of the country since May 2011.
Most of the children are between the ages of 10 and 18 and were forced to steal by criminal gangs after being lured into leaving their hometowns for larger cities in east China to take up jobs, said an official with the region's civil affairs department.
Xinjiang launched a campaign in late April 2011 to locate and return all of the region's vagrant children in order to help them resume normal lives.
While some of the rescued children were returned to their actual homes, others were placed in government-run shelters to receive schooling and vocational training, the official said.
Children who were found to be suffering from injuries or diseases were sent to hospitals for treatment, he said.
The regional government is currently building a 50-million-yuan (7.9 million U.S. dollars) center to shelter rescued vagrant children and offer skill training.