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

Rice Mill Owner Convicted for Enslaving 24

Nearly 11 years after they were rescued from slavery at a large rice mill, 24 children, women and men have now secured justice. The mill owner who abused and enslaved them was finally convicted under India’s Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act on 8th of March, 2018—a critical breakthrough for protecting the poor from violence in this community.

IJM and local law enforcement had conducted a rescue operation at this rice mill in May 2007 to free laborers like Gopi, who were desperate to be released.

In his poverty, Gopi had taken a loan of 4,000 rupees (about £42) from the mill owner and spent the next four years working alongside his wife and children trying to repay it. They were forced to stay in the facility and were always under the watchful eye of one of the owner’s associates. Gopi’s wife, Nirmala, was forced to work even through two pregnancies.

None of Gopi’s children were allowed to attend school, even though it was near the rice mill. Instead, the 10-, 8- and 6-year-olds swept the facility or spread the cleaned rice to dry in the hot sun. They were frequently yelled at or slapped by the owner if they slowed down or stopped working.

Unable to bear the agony and pain, Gopi and his family once ran away from the facility—leaving everything behind. They only made it as far as a local bus station, before the owner’s accomplices found them and dragged them back to the mill.

Today, the rice mill owner finally faces accountability for crimes like these. He was ordered to pay a fine of 6,000 rupees (about $90) or face three months in prison. While the sentence appears low compared to the extent of his abuse, it helps to set an important precedent in the court’s jurisdiction, where convictions against slave owners are rare.

You might also be interested in…

About Stories see more
Three traffickers found guilty of sex trafficking in the UK

Mara*, a survivor of trafficking from Romania, has received justice.

Families’ Relief at Justice for Joseph, Josephat and Willie

Today, at long last, the wait for justice is over.

Trafficker sentenced to 7 years in prison

Two survivors of sex trafficking in Mumbai received justice after a trafficker was convicted for exploiting women and girls.

Two traffickers jailed for exploiting Romanian women in the UK

A husband and wife have been jailed at Southwark Crown Court after being convicted of numerous counts of human trafficking against Romanian women, who had been deceived into coming to the UK with the promise of work.

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