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Bhavani’s Story

02 24 February Appeal Story Page Hero image 2x

Bhavani’s Story

A daring escape from a brutal trap. All for her children.

Bhavani experienced incredible violence and abuse when she, her husband Kumar and two young sons were tricked into modern slavery. It started when one of her sons became deathly ill and they had no choice but to borrow money from a wealthy brick kiln owner to pay for his medical care.

Bhavani and Kumar were able to save their child — but they soon learned the loan was a ploy by the owner to enslave them. With no other option, the entire family went to work in the brick kiln.

Unable to leave, they began work every day at 2:00 a.m., cleaning the worksite and preparing mud and rock for brickmaking. The heavy bricks then had to be molded, dried, shaved and baked. At night, they worked tirelessly packing and loading the heavy bricks for transport.

Bonded labor is just one cruel form of modern slavery.

Together we can end it.

As time went on, Bhavani and Kumar realized their brutal labor was not making a dent on the debt they owed. After many months struggling to survive at the kiln, Bhavani learned she was pregnant.

Soon after, Kumar was injured. The owner let him leave to go to a local hospital but kept Bhavani and the boys at the kiln as collateral. When Kumar didn’t return, the owner began to starve them.

Unable to stand the suffering, one evening Bhavani fled with her children. They made it to a stream before the owner and his henchmen snatched the children away from Bhavani.

“I ran after them helplessly. They were crying out for me.”
— Bhavani

Bhavani knew the only way her family would ever be free was if she continued the escape. She ran, and eventually made it to her mother’s village. There, community members called a local NGO who contacted IJM. Working with local police, IJM aided in the rescue mission that freed Bhavani's children from captivity.

02 24 February Appeal Story Page image 2x

Through our aftercare program, Bhavani and her children learned to thrive again. She and Kumar have reunited to work on their relationship after the trauma they experienced at the kiln, and Bhavani gave birth to their third child in freedom. Their oldest child is now enrolled in school.


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