shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt shaper twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate Group-35 star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search Close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love new-tab equalizer

41 Freed from Bonded Labour in IJM's First Rescue Operation of 2021

First Operation of 2021 Frees 41 from Interstate Trafficking, Including 13 Children

In IJM’s first global rescue operation of the year, our team in India supported local authorities to free 41 people from bondage at a railway construction site in Odisha. This included 13 young children who lived at the site with their parents.

The families had been brought from the nearby state of Telangana, where they belonged to a disadvantaged ethnic community. Traffickers lured them with generous payment advances (up to 120,000 rupees, or $1,600, per family) and promises of good pay and fair work.

Instead, the advances were used as debt traps to keep the families working nonstop. The contractor said they could not leave without paying off the advance with their labour, but he kept adding more charges every day to keep the debt growing.

After two years without sufficient food or shelter, the families were losing hope they would ever go free. One baby girl was even born at the worksite, without proper medical care.

IJM’s casework partner FSD heard about the families’ plight and alerted our staff and local authorities in Odisha. We coordinated with the local government to conduct a rescue operation on the two worksites on January 7. Authorities helped families pack their few belongings and then provided them with short-term lodging and food as they began to recover.

Next, IJM and FSD staff will continue working with local officials on how to hold the owners at the construction site accountable for enslaving these families, potentially through the National Human Rights Commission. We also helped the survivors return home to Telangana, where they will get the long-term aftercare they need to rebuild life in freedom.

Notably, this was the first rescue operation IJM and our partners have conducted in Odisha. In the past, Odisha has more often been a “source state” from which impoverished families are trafficked to other parts of India. IJM has provided aftercare to thousands of these families once they were rescued and returned home. Today, local authorities can see the issue of bonded labour hits close to home, too

Become a Freedom Partner Today

You might also be interested in…

About Stories see more
Mallesh: Story Update
Mallesh was 8 years old when he was brutally enslaved on a rose farm. Today, he’s choosing to use his freedom to free others. He said: “I want to have the power to help others. Imagine putting a full stop to child labour."
Twenty Years Enslaved at a Mango Farm – Now Free

Survivor Leaders in the Released Bonded Labourers Association (RBLA) rallied authorities to rescue a couple who had been enslaved at a mango farm for about 20 years. IJM had known about this couple since 2016, but they were always too scared to ever share the truth about their experience, due to the power of the owner.
Young Couple Rescued from Bondage & Death Threats at a Brick Kiln

Finally freed: the young couple who had been enslaved at a brick kiln for three years were rescued thanks to IJM's partnership with Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) and local authorities. The young woman was 3 months pregnant. The owner had refused to let them leave and demanded they pay him $1,333 or he'd kill them with a motorbike. Terrified, the couple managed to contact relatives, who passed the case to FSD.

Father Sacrifices All for Daughters to become Family Firsts in Higher Education

Once struggling to make ends meet, survivor Sanjeevi now beams with pride. 10 years ago, he was rescued with his wife and children from a life of bonded labour in a brutal rice mill. Today, he stands tall: knowing his two daughters will be the first in the family to pursue higher education.

You Can Help Send Rescue Today.

When you give a gift today, you’ll be fighting slavery, violence, and injustice across the globe. Together, we can end slavery and violence in our lifetime.

You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.

Login

Donor Portal

Review your giving, tax statements and contact info via the IJM Donor Portal.

please sign in
Email Sign Up
Get updates from IJM on stories from the field, events in your area and opportunities to get involved.
sign up