CHENNAI, INDIA – IJM helped set 14 people free last week from a rock quarry where they were trapped in a life of slavery. The adults were forced to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It was exhausting manual labor, breaking up massive boulders and crushing rocks into gravel, all by hand. The men and women hardly had time to care for their small children, born into this life and trapped in the quarry.
IJM gathered evidence of the abuse, documenting the families' stories to take to the local government. On December 7, 2012, IJM went with the officials to the rock quarry, where they found the families already hard at work. The lead government official asked all the workers a series of questions so he could document conditions and the abuse the families had suffered. He then granted official release certificates to eight adults – these legal documents declare them free and entitle them to government benefits.
Over the weekend, IJM helped the families return to their village. After spending the entirety of their young lives in the rock quarry, it was the first time many of the children had met their relatives and neighbors. IJM will continue to visit these families, helping them find sustainable work and making sure the children can go to school.