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Judgment and Rescue Help End Bondage in Bangalore

In just the first few weeks of the new year, local authorities and IJM’s team in Bangalore dealt several swift blows to the system of bonded labor slavery in the region.

On January 9, the IJM team celebrated the conviction of a powerful slave owner in a complicated, years-long trial. It was IJM’s first global conviction of 2017.

This wealthy slave owner had trapped 12 people in a brick kiln and forced them to work around the clock molding and hauling heavy clay bricks. The children, women and men lived in constant fear of violence and could never leave—until police and IJM staff helped rescue them in February 2012.

The legal case against this violent kiln owner dragged slowly through the courts, but IJM and the survivors remained relentless until the judgment this month. The kiln owner was convicted under India’s Bonded Labour Abolition Act and will serve three years in prison for his crimes.

Justice continued on January 13, as IJM and anti-trafficking police infiltrated a network of plastics factories where a group of teenage boys and young men were being abused and enslaved. These young men, who were trafficked from northern India, lived in horrible conditions and were heavily controlled as they toiled in the factories. Some had been in bondage for up to three years.

The rescue team worked quickly to enter three different facilities in quick succession, ensuring all the victims could be rescued before the owners were tipped off. Police brought 23 survivors to safety and arrested four suspects, including the main trafficker who had arranged the scheme.

Officials were proactive in ensuring each survivor was able to give his testimony, eat a warm meal and get any necessary medical care. IJM and staff from a partner NGO helped the young men return home to their villages, where they can access additional government benefits and restart life in freedom.

Emboldened by these early wins in 2017, IJM and our partners will continue the fight against bonded labor slavery and ensure freedom for children and families in need. By rescuing victims and holding criminals accountable, we believe we can help local justice systems protect the poor and end modern-day slavery for good.

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