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

Scared and Scarred: 11 Rescued from Street Food Factory

Over the weekend, IJM supported local officials and NGO partners in rescuing two men and nine teen boys from bonded labour slavery at an urban factory near Chennai. They had been trapped since June 2018, making fried pani puri, a street food popular in north India.

These impoverished men and boys were recruited from their village with loans of as little as 2,000 rupees (about £21 GBP), which they were meant to pay off with their labour. Instead, the factory owner charged them impossible interest rates and controlled their every movement so they could never repay the debt.

He verbally abused them and beat them viciously if they slowed down during the 18-hour work days—ensuring that they were always afraid of his power.

IJM and local authorities learned of the ongoing abuse when one enslaved man managed to escape. He reported the conditions to a grassroots NGO called Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan (MSEMVS), which partners with the global network Freedom Fund. IJM was called in to support these partners and the local government in conducting a successful rescue operation on Saturday, 12th of January.

Officials found the boys exhausted and working in terrible conditions at the factory.

IJM’s Sam Jebadurai describes, 'The boys looked famished. They had been working for approximately 18 hours a day and were physically abused using a wooden stool or a ladle or whatever was handy. They had burns and scars from working with hot oil in hazardous conditions.'

As the case documentation stretched late into the night, one local official described, 'The boys fell at my feet asking me to take them out of the workplace, and this is driving me to sit even at this very hour with them.'

By the next day, authorities had documented all the boys’ stories, granted them release certificates to break their false debts, brought in doctors to treat their wounds, and made plans to help them return home to north India.

Jebadurai adds, 'After they had lunch given to them by the District Administration, they ate and fell asleep. They slept in peace at last knowing they will be free and can go home finally!'

The main owner of the factory has absconded, but police are pursuing his arrest. A second accused has been taken into custody and charged under India’s anti-slavery and child labor laws.

Become a Freedom Partner Today

You might also be interested in…

see more
Fourteen Rescued from Bonded Labour at Construction Site

"I am FREE today" one survivor cried. The taste of joy after 4 years of bonded labour is unimaginable. These ten adults and children have finally been granted official release statements, and will be supported through IJM and partners aftercare services, on their long journey to restoration.

Trapped Garment Workers Reach out to Newspaper and 150 are Finally Rescued

Ever since India’s COVID-19 lockdown began, the world has been shaken by the stories of millions of migrant labourers stranded far from their homes and growing desperate without money, food or shelter. In many cases, these workers have been trapped at factories and worksites—as brutal business owners take advantage of the pandemic to extract more and more forced labour.

Forced to make silk saris she could never afford

The work at the silkworm factory was familiar, Chandramma had been making silk saris since she was 8 years old. But this time was different. When IJM found Chandramma, she had been locked away in a tiny, dark cell of the silk factory - her son suffering beside her - for 6 months.

"Things got so desperate that I even thought of ending my life."

Sixty-Four Children Among Hundreds Rescued at Brick Kiln During Lockdown

Earlier this week, IJM assisted local authorities in rescuing 281 people from bonded labour at a massive brick kiln. This included 64 children of all ages who were forced to mold heavy bricks alongside their parents.

You Can 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 in our lifetime.

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

Your generous monthly support will send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and see their abusers in court.


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