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“I was scared to dream.”

Watch Suriya's Story.


Like most ten-year-old boys, Suriya was a dreamer. If you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, his answer might change depending on the day. A famous singer, an artist, a policeman, a pilot, a cricket player. When he dreamed about his future, the sky was the limit.

But Suriya didn’t know a storm was coming and that his life was moments away from falling apart. A cyclone was headed for Suriya’s village. Not only did it destroy his home, it also took his father’s life, his family’s livelihood and his freedom.

In the aftermath of the storm, a slave owner capitalized on the vulnerable position of Suriya’s family. As so many traffickers do, he swooped in, offering Suriya’s mother a loan to pay for her husband’s funeral and repair her home. She was given no choice but to accept the loan, and Suriya was forced to work on the farm with no end in sight.

Protect children like Suriya from being trapped in modern-day slavery

“I accepted the fact that this was my reality now... that there was no way out,” Suriya told IJM. “I was scared to fall asleep because I was scared to dream.”

But this was not the end of Suriya’s story. You helped Suriya dream again.

In partnership with a local organization in India that helps combat forced labor, IJM helped find Suriya, bring him to safety and fight for justice against the man who exploited his family.

His journey towards a happy ending has begun. But millions of children are still waiting for their journey of healing to begin.