500 Freed From Slavery!

Posted: May 16, 2011 in current events, justice, poor

Exciting news from the International Justice Mission:

Friday, 13 May 2011
CHENNAI – Today, 514 children, women and men are living in freedom after being rescued from a brick kiln in IJM’s largest anti-slavery operation ever. Sparked by a brother’s desperate plea, the operation brought freedom to nearly 400 forced to work in the kiln – including 23 children, the youngest only 8 years old – and their dependents, either too old and frail or too young and weak to work, but still held captive within the factory’s walls…

On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 27, 2011, a team of government officials and IJM staff, accompanied by police, entered the brick kiln, intent on liberating any laborers held there by force…

It soon became apparent that the initial estimate of 200 people fell far short: A sea of people clad in tattered, but colorful, mud-flecked clothing stretched nearly 30 yards from where the team’s rallying point had been established. The sight was overwhelming.

IJM Chennai Director of Aftercare Pranitha Timothy turned to the throng and shouted in Hindi, “Who wants to come out?” Immediately, hundreds of hands shot up into the air.

The article concludes with this wonderful statement:

“This is the most impressive display we have seen to date of the government being proactive in combating bonded labor and being sensitive to the needs of the victims,” remarked Saju Mathew, IJM South Asia Regional Director. “It is a huge encouragement to work with talented, dedicated officials like these, who clearly demonstrate the potential of the government to lead the charge against bonded labor in India.” For the next two days, Kandasamy stood on the platform of the local train station to send off the free children women and men in groups, watching as they boarded train cars that he had ordered to be attached on their behalf. IJM aftercare staff are making plans to ensure the families have the training they need to establish new lives in freedom. They have now returned home – more than 1000 miles from the place where they were enslaved – where they can live in safety.

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