Alerted by neighbors, social workers turned up at a house in a rundown city neighborhood this week to find two children, aged two and four, chained up by their absent mother.
The mother, a domestic servant, chained the children because they would play with knives and turn on the gas from the cooker when left unsupervised.
The toddlers told social workers that they were often chained by the ankles and neck while their mother left the house. Her three older children were sometimes entrusted with the key to the padlock.
The mother, who now faces losing custody of all her five children, was said by neighbors to be consistently hard up for cash but was known to occasionally smoke marijuana.