CHENNAI, INDIA – Today, IJM helped local authorities rescue families from forced labor slavery in two rice mills. It was a joyful emancipation, and it was a reunion for families divided by the constraints of slavery.
Working with police and the government official in charge of the operation, IJM quickly identified the people enslaved in the first rice mill. They helped the children, women and men safely leave the rice mill, once and for all.
But when the rescue team arrived at the second rice mill, it was empty. The owner had been tipped off, and he had commanded his slaves to hide. Splitting up to search for the men and women, IJM staff soon found them hiding among some bushes.
Back at the government office, away from the threats and powerful control of the master over his slaves, the truth started to come out. Women and men had been forced to work as slaves in both rice mills. Families had been divided between the two rice mills – two brothers separated, a father alienated from his daughter. At last, they were reunited.
By the end of the day, ten people received official release certificates, declaring them free and entitling them to government compensation that will help them rebuild lives in freedom. IJM will provide critical aftercare for all of the families, helping them develop the skills they need to find healthy work and plan for their families’ future.