On Tuesday, IJM helped local authorities rescue 10 children, women and men from slavery at a grueling rock-crushing facility in southern India.
These families had taken small monetary loans from the quarry owner, who then used impossible interest rates and constant violence to keep them under his control. He moved them around wherever work was available and forced them to work from dawn to dusk, breaking heavy rocks for hours on end.
One family had been trapped in bonded labor slavery at this quarry for the last six years. Two of their four young children were born in the facility, and the harsh conditions were all they had ever known. On the day of the rescue, injuries on their small bodies showed they, too, had been forced to work.
The second family had previously escaped the facility, when the owner allowed them to leave and take care of their sick father. Once he found out the father had died, however, he tracked the couple down, beat them, and brought them back to the facility to work.
The families lived in extremely poor conditions, with no electricity, proper shelter or adequate food. Children were not allowed to go to school. Everyone faced constant verbal and physical abuse from the quarry owner.
The IJM-trained government officials working on the case were deeply moved by the harsh conditions these families faced, and they moved quickly into action to bring them to safety. All six adults were issued official release certificates to absolve the false debts used to control them. The laborers also received rehabilitation funds to help start their lives in freedom.
From here, IJM will help the families return to their home villages and find safe housing and dignified work. They will join our two-year aftercare program to equip them with life skills, job training and hope for the future.