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How a child’s hand-drawn map led to freedom from trafficking!

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How a child’s hand-drawn map led to freedom from trafficking!

13-year-old Rajeshwari’s courageous action helped police find the brick kiln her family was trapped in. This is her story.

C

ould you memorise and draw a map of your commute to work, or from your home to the local shop?

Would you be able to remember every tree and sign along the way?

What if your family’s freedom depended on it?

Desperate for a way out of trafficking, 13-year-old Rajeshwari took on the challenge.

Forced to work alongside her family in a brick kiln in South Asia, Rajeshwari was subjected to brutal abuse and beatings – experiencing things no child should.

“While at the kiln I was cursing my destiny,” Rajeshwari remembers. “I felt helpless and lonely… I wanted to study and come up in life.”

Rajeshwari and her family spent three exhausting years trapped in the brick kiln. IJM staff said, “You get so much dust in your nose and mouth. I don’t know how they were surviving there… it’s not a feasible place for anybody to live.”

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The road out of exploitation for Rajeshwari’s family seemed blocked. Despite being alerted to their situation, police and IJM staff couldn’t find the family because the kiln they were in was surrounded by hundreds of other kilns.

This didn’t stop resourceful Rajeshwari. Determined to escape, Rajeshwari courageously volunteered to covertly survey the area and draw a detailed map to guide the team through the maze of kilns.

Using a secret phone, Rajeshwari sent a photo of the map to IJM: “It was amazing to see how precisely she drew each tree... She gave the team all the information they needed to get to the correct location.”

– IJM staff

Thanks to the bravery of Rajeshwari, the road to freedom opened up. Police were able to bring her family and another family of five, including three young children, to safety.

One woman could barely walk because she was so ill, and another man cradled a wounded wrist from a recent beating.

With IJM’s support and aftercare, today Rajeshwari is 16-years-old, focused on her education and hopes to become a teacher.

She shares joyfully, “Today, my dreams are coming true one by one.”

You can help more families take a step on the road to freedom.

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