CHENNAI, INDIA – Dozens of children, women and men were rescued from slavery in a rock quarry late last week. IJM assisted government officials to bring the families out of the quarry and secure official release certificates declaring them emancipated from forced labor slavery.
IJM staff accompanied the families from the rock quarry to the government office, where they testified to the dangerous conditions of their enslavement. Half a dozen individuals went to the hospital for immediate care, and many had physical wounds that testified to the abuse they had endured in the brutal rock quarry.
Six children received the government-issued release certificates, along with 25 adults who were forced to work in the rock quarry as slaves. The release certificates cancel any alleged or outstanding debts to the owner and entitle each individual to rehabilitation funds set aside by the government for former forced labor slaves.
The government official who conducted the operation with IJM's support went "above and beyond," according to Thandavarayan Kuralamuthan, IJM Chennai's Community Relations Manager. "It was really amazing to see [her] commitment to securing justice," he added.
IJM divided the families into small groups and drove them to their home villages. In the coming days and weeks, IJM social workers will follow up with the families to make sure they have the resources they need to start rebuilding lives of freedom.