Freeing people from bonded labour in Chennai, India
Chennai on the east coast of India is a hi-tech centre – but outside this megacity human trafficking and slavery flourishes. The authorities can do very little to curtail this criminal business model. One reason for this: police, state prosecutors and judges have not been adequately educated on how to combat slavery effectively. They lack experience, training and expertise to identify slave masters, to release the victims and to prepare their case robustly for trial. The State of India wants to change this situation.
The knodel foundation is supporting IJM, the world’s largest organisation engaged in the fight against slavery, in its project in Chennai. Its goal is to liberate people from bonded labour and to establish a legal system that applies equally to everyone. Human traffickers and slave masters must not escape punishment.
Suriya was eleven years old when he disappeared. His father suspected that his son was being forced to work in a sweet factory somewhere in India. Seeking help, he turned to the police who asked IJM for support. After an investigation that lasted for months, IJM found the boy as well as the factory. The police arrested the factory owner and IJM accused him of people trafficking on Suriya’s behalf. Since then, the IJM lawyers have carried on the lawsuit.
Suriya is back living with his family now. Because of IJM’s investigation, he is attending school and is training to be a carpenter. IJM social workers have accompanied him through post-trauma therapy and have helped to heal the psychological damage.