CHENNAI, INDIA – Late last week, eight people were freed from a farm where they had been trapped as forced labor slaves for more than twelve years.
IJM assisted the government officials with the operation to rescue the families from the farm, where they had endured severe physical abuse. Back at the government offices, the officials asked each family questions to determine whether the laborers were in fact forced. It soon became clear that they were, and six people received official release certificates, emancipating them and qualifying them to receive government-allocated rehabilitation funds.
The families returned home to their village, finally free. In some instances, the owner will try to track down the men and women who worked as slaves for many years, using threats and violence to force them to return to their former life in bondage. To ensure this particular owner will not regain control over the laborers, a senior government official issued a letter to his counterpart in the village where the laborers returned. The letter reaffirmed the fact that the families are free and not beholden to the farm owner.
IJM will continue to support the families, providing tools and training they need to get good jobs and send their children to school.