“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.
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
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