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The trade flourished from 1847 to 1854 without incident, until reports began to surface of the mistreatment of the workers in Cuba and Peru.
As the British government had political and legal responsibility for many of the ports involved - including Amoy - such ports were immediately closed.
For those who did sign on voluntarily, they generally signed on for a period of two to five years.
In addition to having their passage paid for, Coolies were also paid under twenty cents per day, on average.
However, many Chinese laborers worked in British colonies such as Singapore, Jamaica, British Guiana (now Guyana), British Malaya, Trinidad and Tobago, British Honduras (now Belize) - as well as in the Dutch colonies within the Dutch East Indies, and Suriname.
The first shipment of Chinese labourers was to the British colony of Trinidad in 1806.
Australia began importing workers in 1848, and the United States began using them in 1865 on the First Transcontinental Railroad construction.
Some of these labourers signed contracts based on misleading promises, some were kidnapped and sold into the trade, some were victims of clan violence whose captors sold them to coolie brokers, while others sold themselves to pay off gambling debts.
The Chinese government also made efforts to secure the well-being of their nation's workers, with representations being made to relevant governments around the world.
Workers from China were mainly transported to work in Peru and Cuba.
Although there are reports of ships for Asian coolies carrying women and children, the great majority of them were men.
Regulations were put in place as early as 1837 by the British authorities in India to safeguard these principles of voluntary, contractual work and safe and sanitary transportation, although in practice this rarely occurred (especially during examples such as the Pacific Passage or the Guano Pits of Peru).
In 1875, British commissioners estimated that approximately eighty percent of the workers had been abducted.