Another 26 people accused of using forced labor and mistreating workers at brick kilns in northern China have gone on trial.

Chinese media reported that several separate cases went to court Wednesday in Shanxi province, where a string of arrests has been made in recent weeks in connection with the use of forced labor by brick kiln owners.

The Xinhua news agency said that four of the defendants were charged with intentionally injuring workers.

Also Wednesday, local media reported that another Shanxi court had opened a second session of a trial of high-profile defendants accused of involvement in a slave labor ring. No verdict has been reached in the case.

The use of forced labor was exposed in June after an appeal by the parents of missing children led to police raids on thousands of brick factories in the provinces of Shanxi and Henan.

Following the crackdown, China approved new workers' rights legislation, to take effect early next year.

Earlier this week, China's lawyers association petitioned legislators to make slavery a specific crime, as current law only allows for a maximum sentence of three years for illegal detention and forced labor.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.