23 March 2018
Last week, nearly 150 children, women and men were rescued from bonded labour slavery in a single Indian brick kiln, thanks to the diligent work of local government officials, police and IJM staff.
Three suspects accused of enslaving these families have been apprehended by police, with one already charged under India’s anti-trafficking laws, and the rescued slaves are now safely back in their home villages.
The quick arrests and a faithful commitment to the survivors’ wellbeing through this operation demonstrates a promising shift in local government attitudes in this area—and a much stronger response to the plague of bonded labour slavery still alive across the country.
Children told IJM staff they hadn’t been able to play in the kiln because of their strict schedule and the pain in their arms and legs from carrying bricks all day. Their families were made to work from 4:00am to 11:00am, before snatching a few hours to rest before working again until dark. Many children said they couldn’t remember playing a single day in the kiln.
One grandmother explained the everyday struggles of life in the kiln, even as simple as getting a good meal: “[We have] no proper food in our stomachs. How can we be happy then? If we’re sick, we can’t work and don’t get paid. Kaam nahi, khana nahi [no work, no food].”
International Justice Mission protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems. Our team has helped local officials combat bonded labour slavery around Chennai since 2001, and together we've brought thousands of children, women and men into freedom. Join the fight against slavery.
International Justice Mission is a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.Find out more