Over the weekend, IJM helped Indian authorities rescue two young brothers from slavery at a cow farm. The 13- and 10-year-old boys have now been reunited with their mother and are beginning their road to recovery.
“It has been two years since I saw my boys,” their mother, Lalitha, shared after the rescue. “I am so happy to have them back.”
The family’s ordeal began when a wealthy businessman spotted Lalitha struggling to care for her sick husband and keep the family afloat. He offered her a generous advance (about $830) if her sons would help on his farm during their school break. She was hesitant but had no other way to help the family survive, so the boys went to work.
But the plan for two months of summer work turned into two years of harsh labour and exposure to the elements. The businessman and his partner refused to let the boys leave the farm, and instead made them tend nearly 40 cows day and night. The boys slept outside, barely got enough food, and faced frequent verbal threats and physical beatings.
After her repeated pleas to the farm owners failed, Lalitha learned about IJM and reported her case. IJM supported the local government in coordinating a rescue operation to find the young brothers and arrest the alleged slave holders.
On Saturday 15 June, the team arrived at the farm and searched for hours until both boys were found and brought to safety. The two suspected slave holders fled the scene, but police are still pursuing their arrest.
Local authorities immediately brought the boys to a government office to learn more about their stories and reunite them with their mother. For the first time in two years, she got to share a warm meal with her boys and hold them close.
Officials also bought the boys new clothes and brought them to a children’s shelter where they can get urgent aftercare before returning home.
“I am thankful to all those who helped today in rescuing my boys,” Lalitha shared tearfully. “I don’t have words to express how happy I am to see my boys safe.”
You might also be interested in…
“IJM referral leads to rescue of 7 children and arrest of their mother”
27 May 2020 TAGUIG CITY, PHILIPPINES – Handcuffed beside a swinging baby’s hammock, a 28-year-old mother was arrested in her house in Taguig City for crimes related to cybersex trafficking of children. This is another successful operation amidst COVID-19 lockdowns conducted by members of the PNP-Women and Children Protection Center – Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division
“Online sex offender sentenced to life in prison in landmark e-conviction”
WARNING: The following story may be disturbing to some readers. MANILA, PHILIPPINES – 26 May 2020 will be a date that will long be remembered as David Timothy Deakin will go down as the first foreigner to be convicted for trafficking offences through online proceedings in the Philippines. Deakin was declared guilty of large-scale qualified trafficking in persons and
“MEDIA RELEASE: AFP tip-off leads Philippine authorities to rescue 12 children and a teenager from cybersex trafficking”
Monday 25 May 2020 BUTUAN CITY, MINDANAO, THE PHILIPPINES – The Australian Federal Police and Philippine law enforcement continued their effective collaboration, rescuing 12 children and a teenager from cybersex trafficking last Thursday. It follows similar operations on 4 and 14 May, both of which began with an AFP tip-off. At around 9am on Thursday
“Urgent Rescue of 360 People Sparks Mass Exodus from Brick Kilns”
This week, IJM helped Indian law enforcement rescue 360 people from bonded labour at a notoriously brutal brick kiln—which then led to the release of nearly 7,000 other migrant workers who had been trapped during the COVID-19 lockdown. Here’s how the story has unfolded: India’s lockdown has kept millions safe from COVID-19—but it’s also kept