CHENNAI, INDIA – Late last week, IJM helped government officials in a rural area outside Chennai to rescue families forced to work as slaves in a rice mill and rock quarry. When the team of IJM staff and officials arrived, the families were hard at work – including several children.
The high-ranking government official in charge of the operation issued release certificates to 25 men, women and children, emancipating them from slavery and cancelling any debts the owners claimed they were owed. Two of the children were just 7 years old: "It was a moving sight to see those little hands holding the hammer while they should've been in school holding pencils," shared an IJM social worker after the operation.
Over 30 people were rescued from a rice mill and a rock quarry last week. Even children were forced to work as slaves.
Another rescued woman had given birth to a baby girl only two weeks before rescue. Her little girl will be able to grow up in freedom: She and the others rescued will join IJM's two-year aftercare program, helping them get medical care, access to government benefits and educational or job opportunities.