IJM’S LARGEST OPERATION IN BANGALORE FREES 260 SLAVES
In late April, the Bangalore branch of the International Justice Mission (IJM) was invited by Indian officials to join an operation to find close to 60 suspected victims of human trafficking that had been reported missing by relatives from the Indian state of Orissa. Indian police officials believed that the missing relatives from Orissa were being held in two targeted brick kilns, however when IJM and the Indian police arrived, there was no one to be found. In what appears to be a stroke of luck, “the official in charge from Orissa instead decided to enter a few nearby brick factories and make sure the workers there were rightfully employed” said IJM Bangalore’s Esther Daniel. “What we found shocked us. Dozens of people were inside, afraid and desperate to leave.”
IJM and the local police took the women, children, and men to a nearby community center to provide them with care and determine whether the missing Orissa families were among the rescued. In the days following, 7 of the families reported missing from Orissa were found. Four of the families had run away from the brick kiln the day of the rescue operation, while three other families were forced to board a train back to Orissa the morning before by the factory’s owner, after he was most likely tipped off about the looming rescue operation. “The families shared how they had been forced to work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They were isolated from any kind of support network, hundreds of miles away from their home state. The rigid rules were enforced with violence and threats.”
Thanks to IJM and the Indian police officials, a total of 260 people were rescued from modern slavery andreturned to their families in Orissa.
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