In October 2014, Renu Devi (pictured above)
and 165 other men, women and children were rescued from bonded labor slavery in Bihar through a rescue operation conducted by government officials working with JVI and one of our local justice partners. Now, almost two years later
, Ms. Devi has achieved something remarkable. On June 8, 2016 this former slave became the unprecedented winner of her local panchayat election in Bihar. (A panchayat is equivalent to a village council that is led by ten or more local leaders, elected by the community). Ms. Devi, 34 years old, won the local election in a patriarchal community where woman candidates are rare. She competed against candidates who were supported by her former captors and won. Her success brought new pride to other bonded labor survivors, and her new position in the community is a positive indicator of real change in the fight against modern-day slavery.
Ms. Devi, was rescued from years of multi-generational bonded labor in late 2014. Working with the government, JVI and its local partner, New India Evangelistic Association (NIEA), played an integral role in helping Ms. Devi and other bonded laborers secure their liberty and access rehabilitation services and other assistance needed to enjoy a new life of freedom including the exercise of their right to vote in local elections. Ms. Devi hopes to use her new influence as a local leader to promote a more just and equitable community.
All content and images are the property of JVI © 2016.