shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate Group-35 star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love

Eight Families in Bondage for 6 Years Now Free

Earlier this month, IJM supported local authorities near Bangalore on an urgent rescue operation to free 29 people who were forced to chop wood for the last six years. The man who allegedly abused and exploited them is currently absconding from police.

These eight families—including 10 children—originally came to Bangalore six years ago to work for a different employer. After six months, the suspected slave owner paid that employer 80,000 rupees (about $1,100 USD) so the laborers would work for him. He also gave each family a payment “advance” of 40,000-60,000 rupees—which actually became a debt to repay—and promised them good work and fair wages.

For the next six years, however, this new owner began taking the families around to forested areas across Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states to chop eucalyptus trees, which are used to make scaffolding at construction sites. He moved the families every two or four weeks and forced them to work more than 13 hours a day with only short breaks for meals, and only one day off every few weeks.

Life in bondage became brutal for these families. They slept for six years in makeshift tents and ate only what they could buy with a few cents every day. None of them had ever been to school, and they could not access medical care or interact much with the outside world.

One 26-year-old laborer told IJM staff, “I often get chest pain. I requested permission from the owner to go back to my village for two months to get treatment and, though I promised to return, he did not let me go. He asked me who would do my work while I was gone.”

After confirming IJM’s investigations on the abuse these families faced, proactive government officials brought the laborers to safety on November 16 and have filed initial police reports to hold the alleged slave owner accountable for his crimes.

IJM expressed gratitude for the Assistant Commissioner in this case, who led his first-ever bonded labor rescue with focus and victim sensitivity. He followed best practices for rescuing the laborers and ensured their official testimonies, health check-ups and Release Certificates—which break their false debts from the owner—were all completed in one day.

“We are appreciative of the proactive government team which took the lead in this compelling rescue operation,” says IJM Bangalore’s lead social worker. “I hope this rescue will restore these laborers to their lost identities as they begin their lives in freedom.”

The rescued families have been returned safely to their home village and will join IJM’s two-year aftercare program for bonded labor survivors, which helps them learn new life skills, get children in school, and build stable plans for the future. Police will continue searching for their abuser and seek to hold him accountable under India’s anti-trafficking laws.

You might also be interested in…

see more
$
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Billing Information

Your donation:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Card Information

Your donation:

You are giving a one-time gift.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Thank You!

Your receipt has been sent to your email.

How was the experience for you? Tell us here.
Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or at 703-465-5495

Donors in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, or the United Kingdom: by making a donation you agree that we may transfer your personal information to our IJM advancement offices in your country. That advancement office may contact you about future donations or for other fundraising purposes.

Login

Donor Portal

Review your giving, tax statements and contact info via the IJM Donor Portal.

please sign in
IJM Community

Your digital hub for the movement to end modern slavery. Get exclusive updates, connect with others, and find ways to go deeper with IJM.

Please Sign In