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

Fourteen Children and Teens Brought to Safety from Bonded Labour at an Abusive Plastics Factory

Late Thursday evening, an IJM partner helped authorities free 14 trafficking survivors from a plastics factory where they had been forced to work for the last eight months.

The group included two 18-year-olds and twelve minors, ranging from 10 to 17 years old.

All of these young people had been trafficked from their home states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Bihar to the southern tip of India, in the Tamil Nadu state. They were recruited by a middleman working for the factory, who sought out desperate families and deceived them with promises of good work and fair pay.

Instead, the trafficker transported the children to this plastics factory and handed them over to the owners. He added up all of the victims’ travel expenses, like trains and food, and said the children had to repay this debt through their labour—or they would never be allowed to leave.

From there, the factory owners put them to work making plastic bags, nylon ropes and other plastic goods. They were expected to work at least 12 hours a day but were often required to labour all night long to meet a quota. Supervisors watched them constantly and only let them leave if they were severely sick or injured. At night, all of the victims slept together in one room.

One IJM staff member shared, “It was shocking to learn that the boys and girls were kept in the same room within the factory grounds. It is uncommon to see people of opposite genders forced to share a room by factories, especially during this pandemic.”

IJM heard about the conditions at the factory from another survivor of bonded labour who knew people working at the factory. We referred the case to our partner Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) who works in the same district. FSD staff alerted the local government to the exploitation on July 22, leading the District Sub-Collector to immediately form a rescue team with police and other local authorities.

One IJM staff member shared: “We are seeing a significant improvement in system reform in our partners’ project areas. Government officials in these areas are now more aware and proactive. The relationships established and maintained by IJM’s partners have resulted in proactive government officials."

Within 30 minutes of hearing about the case, officials arrived at the factory to interview the children about their experience and confirm the abuse. They then brought all 14 victims to safety at a government office. Officials took their detailed statements and gave them Release Certificates, which formally declare them as free from the traffickers and will help them access government benefits for their recovery.

FSD Founder Dr. K Krishnan had a very positive experience working with the government officials, “The SDM was very cooperative and an inspiring person. He made all the government officials work late in the night, and various line departments are assisting along with FSD team members.”

Today, the survivors are staying at a safe shelter home, where they will get short-term medical care and counselling. Officials will also help them set up bank accounts and will deposit funds for their recovery, as per India’s laws. FSD staff will help the children return home as soon as they are able.

FSD is also supporting the government in filing an official police report against the factory owner and the middleman who trafficked the children—so they cannot hurt other families again.

You might also be interested in…

About Stories see more
Girls calling for an end to trafficking: Ranjita's story

11th October is International Day of the Girl Child, a day dedicated to promoting the rights and wellbeing of girls. At IJM we're committed to empowering girls who have experienced trafficking or violence to pursue their dreams and to contribute towards a more just world - and Ranjita is leading the way!

Trafficked, widowed, now free: Sandeep's story

Once trapped in bonded labour, today this family is full of hope – and Sandeep is speaking out as a survivor leader.

Revisiting Worksites Shows IJM's Criminal Deterrence Method is Proving Sustainable and Effective

Revisiting six cases demonstrates IJM's model for criminal deterrence is proving effective. Effective law enforcement—including arresting, charging and convicting perpetrators—creates a long-term preventative effect among offenders and is now curbing exploitation in these worksites and others.

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."
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.


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