CHENNAI, INDIA – On Thursday, September 20, IJM Chennai helped the government rescue 17 children, women and men from forced labor slavery. They had been forced to work 12-hour days and live inside a rice mill in Kancheepuram, trapped for at least five years.
CHENNAI, INDIA – It did not take long for Venkatesh and Subbulu to realize that they were trapped in slavery. But when they did, it was too late. Exasperated by his powerlessness to help his family, Venkatesh said, "'till I die I have to live here like a captive."
He and his wife had taken a small loan from the owner of a rice mill where their daughter worked. They planned pay it back by working in the mill. But the owner was not interested in the loan; he was interested in running his business on cheap labor – slave labor.
What Slavery Looks Like
CHENNAI, INDIA – When IJM discovered families were being forced to work as slaves at a tree-cutting farm, they alerted local government officials. Together, a team of IJM staff, police and government leaders planned a rescue operation. When the rescue team arrived on Thursday, August 30, they found nearly 30 men, women and even children enslaved in not one, but two, tree-cutting farms.
KOLKATA, INDIA – In a small, crowded courtroom on a rainy afternoon in Kolkata, a five-year battle for justice ended with a resounding victory. Two brothel managers and the man who trafficked 15-year-old Renuka* from Bangladesh to Kolkata were convicted and sentenced to prison.
"On the darkest nights, this day will be a beacon of hope," says IJM Kolkata Field Office Director Biju Mathew, "In this work fighting sex trafficking, there are huge challenges. We see violence and despair. But every day, we can decide to persevere because we know that justice is possible."