CHENNAI, INDIA – Over the weekend, 13 individuals were rescued from a tree-cutting unit where they were forced to work as slaves.
Ten years ago, one of the men borrowed 500 rupees from the owner, about $10. But this was not a loan; it was a trap meant to snare an impoverished man desperate for work. He had been working for a decade to repay the loan, but he was still in slavery. In fact, the owner claimed the alleged loan had grown to over $750.
Along with the other men and women forced to work alongside him, this man is now free. Seven individuals received government-issued release certificates that cancel the debt and entitle each person to government rehabilitation funds. IJM will continue to follow up with the families as they resettle in their home communities.