CHENNAI, INDIA – Late last week, two brothers were convicted for violating India's anti-slavery law, the Bonded Labor Act. The two men used slave labor to run a rice mill, and IJM helped government officials rescue families trapped as slaves there in two different operations.
In March 2009, nine families were set free from bondage at the rice mill, when IJM helped local authorities conduct the first operation. 23 people – including children – received release certificates, legal documents that emancipate them and entitle them to certain government benefits.
But even as their trial went on, the brothers re-stocked their rice mill with new families. Earlier this year, in May 2012, IJM and government officials returned to the same rice mill, this time finding 16 children, women and men who were working as forced labor slaves for more than 12 hours each day.
Last week, the brothers learned that their impunity had ended. On October 19, 2012, they were convicted and ordered to pay a fine for every enslaved person rescued in the 2009 operation. IJM advocates are pursuing a second case against the brothers on behalf of the families rescued this May.