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5 Boys Rescued Despite India's Covid-19 Lockdown

TELANGANA STATE, INDIA – Earlier this month, IJM’s partner Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) supported the government on an urgent rescue operation to free five boys from bonded labour, despite a national COVID-19 lockdown that has slowed all other activities.

The boys were being forced to work at a paper plate factory in Telangana state. Factories like this should have shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was still operating behind closed doors.

FSD staff found the boys as they monitored this industrial area to check on the wellbeing of migrant labourers. They learned the boys had been trapped in bonded labour for over a year.

FSD’s founder, Dr. Krishnan, told local media, “Though the central government and the Supreme Court continue to stress and elaborate on the importance to ensure safety and dignity of the migrant labourers, exploitation continues unabated amid lockdown. Ignorance and poverty are easily misused.”

On April 1, local authorities conducted a rescue operation to bring the boys to safety, shut down the factory, and hold the owners accountable. Initial charges have been filed against the factory owners under India’s laws against bonded labour and child labour, as well as for violations of the national lockdown.

The rescued boys have been moved to a safe government shelter home until the national lockdown is lifted, when they will return to their home state of Bihar to reunite with their families and continue healing.

Read more about this rescue operation in The New Indian Express and News 18.

Read more about the work of IJM partners and local government in India here.

Image from a previous IJM rescue in India.

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