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India Some 500 Slaves Freed In Raid By Indian Government

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
June 30, 2011

Some 500 slaves freed in raid by Indian government
India Gazette
Thursday 30th June, 2011

• 500 workers forced to labour in brick kiln in illegal 'bonded labour'
• Women and children among those rescued
• Officials shocked by conditions

A shocking case of slave labour has been uncovered in India during a government raid on a brick-making factory, leaving many officials shocked at the conditions in which women and children were found working.

The raid on a brick kiln in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu was conducted on the back of an anonymous tip off, according to a report by the CNN Freedom Project. Officials involved in the raid had been expecting to find around 200 male labourers.

Instead, they found themselves rescuing 500 men, women and children, all of whom had been illegally forced to work in the tiny kiln as a form of ‘bonded labour’ a modern-day form of slavery in which individuals are forced to work to pay back a loan, rather than paying back with cash.

The practise was banned by the Indian government in 1976, but remains widespread throughout the country and further afield – many companies importing labour from India to Dubai are accused of engaging in the practise as well.

“We worked all the time. We would only stop to eat,” 20-year-old Dambru Jani, who was rescued in the raid, told CNN. “If we tried to rest, they'd abuse us and force us to work again.”

“In bonded labor ...the owner decides when they eat, when they sleep, whether they are free to leave or not. All the terms of their life are now dictated by the owner,” said Saju Mathew, the national director for the International Justice Mission, the human rights group that assisted the government with the raid.

The rescued labourers were reportedly given a cash loan of US $225 (10,000 rupees), they were then taken hundreds of miles from their home to the brick kiln, effectively stranding them there with no means of escape from an abusive and tiring 14 hour workday, everyday, with no time off and very little food.

The rescued workers were taken to a nearby school where they were offered food, medical treatment, counseling and a ticket home on trains chartered in by the local government.

Although human rights groups have applauded the government’s intervention and treatment of the freed workers, there has been some concern over the treatment of the owner of the brick kiln, who was arrested, but later released pending the formal submission of charges.

The CNN Freedom Project describes itself as a "fight to end modern-day slavery and shine a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery, amplify the voices of the victims, highlight success stories and help unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life".

source: http://story.indiagazette.com/index...00-slaves-freed-in-raid-by-Indian-government/


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