CHENNAI, INDIA – Late last week IJM Chennai assisted local authorities to rescue dozens of children, women and men trapped in two rice mills, forced to work as slaves. The IJM staff and government officials planned to rescue families from one rice mill, but when the team arrived individuals from an adjoining rice mill started jumping over a wall, begging to get out of slavery too.
The forced laborers from both facilities were taken to a government office, where they gave official testimonies of the abuse they had endured in the rice mills. Of the 47 individuals removed from the abusive facilities, the officer-in-charge issued 30 government release certificates – including four children who had been forced to work as slaves. These official documents entitle the former forced laborers to substantial government rehabilitation funds.
IJM staff helped the families return to their home villages on the night they were rescued, and all will enter IJM's two-year aftercare program to ensure they remain free.