South Asia

Dozens Rescued From Slavery on Worm-Harvesting Farm

Written by Sanjay Sojwal, IJM Director of Field Communications, who is in India on assignment. 

CHENNAI, INDIA — Thirty people are now readjusting to life outside the confines of slavery. Just days ago, children and parents alike were standing in knee-high mud digging up mounds of clay and pulling out rusty-red worms. They were slaves.

Monday was an exhilarating and a draining day. My IJM colleagues and I joined local government officials and police to rescue the families from this worm-picking business.

Recent Convictions Indicate Crackdown on Impunity for Sex Traffickers

KOLKATA, INDIA — A life-changing moment took place in Kolkata just a few weeks ago: Four traffickers were convicted for crimes exactly four years after IJM helped rescue 10 young women from commercial sexual exploitation.

Sangeeta* is one of those survivors. She was trafficked when she was 12, locked in a hotel room, then routinely raped by men who paid as little as $2.50 to abuse her.

These convictions are just a few of more than a dozen recent rulings, a trend revealing that this district, once infamous for trafficking, is changing.

Mumbai Priest Arrested in Occultist Ritual Admits to Exploiting Nearly Two Dozen Girls

Police recently arrested a priest in Mumbai for sexually exploiting girls under the guise of embodying a spirit, the priest telling the families they would receive divine financial favor. Upon his arrest, the priest admitted to raping at least 22 girls. IJM was alerted to the case by an official who had recently attended an IJM training and asked for logistical assistance. Since January 2015, IJM Mumbai has trained more than 3,500 police and police trainees in the state of Maharashtra on how to handle human trafficking cases.