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 shaper 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

IJM Staff’s Son Spots Slavery in His Water Supply

When one 9-year-old boy saw a group of other kids being forced to work at a water treatment facility near his home, he knew exactly who to tell: His dad, Raja, who works at IJM to combat modern slavery.

“You go everywhere and rescue people,” he said, “why can’t you send these boys home?”

His instincts were right, and Raja quickly reported the potential slavery case to a child labor helpline and his IJM colleagues.

On June 21, the team joined government officials to investigate the facility—a place where thousands of Chennai families get their drinking water—and what they found was shocking.

Five teen boys and one young man had been trafficked to the facility from northern India. They had to use chemicals to make water drinkable and then bottled it for sale. Due to high demand, they were being forced to work nearly 24 hours a day in appalling conditions, leaving them wounded, exhausted and terrified. Some had been enslaved for five years.

Raja describes, “This is one of the most gruesome cases we have come across. The boys were overworked…and their hands and feet were injured from working with strong chemicals used to treat the water…One of the boys said he had asked to speak to his parents but was beaten up, so they were scared to ask for anything.”

Local officials documented the evidence of brutality at the water treatment center, then helped the boys move quickly to a safe location. The boys could barely stay awake to share their testimonies, and they soon fell deep asleep after getting warm meals and a place to rest.

Police have filed charges against the facility owner and his accomplices, and they are working on arresting these suspects in the coming weeks. Officials also shut down the water treatment facilities and locked their doors.

The rescue operation tied in with a fresh commitment from the Tamil Nadu state government to protect children after World Day Against Child Labor, which took place on June 12.

Once the operation was completed, authorities brought the boys to a short-term aftercare shelter to rest and heal. Next, IJM will help the boys return to their homes in northern India and will provide long-term rehabilitative care.

$
  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