On January 3rd, 2019, JVI, along with one of our local partners, government officials and Bihar police rescued 293 bonded labor victims from agricultural bondage in Bihar, India. An oppressive mixture of extreme poverty, forefathers’ debt, an illegal feudal system and generational practice had forced the survivors to become bonded by landlords of the village. They were exploited by the owners and enslaved for 3-5 generations.
The Intervention*: In 2018, we received confidential information about the ongoing bonded labor system being prevalent at the village. We began documenting the case and providing psychosocial support to the victims. During the process, the laborers shared the extent of their physical, economical and mental exploitation by their multi-generational employers. They were not allowed to leave the village without permission. They worked long hours and were paid barely enough to survive. Several of the children were also forced into child labor. Some victims stated they were beaten and verbally abused. They did not receive adequate food and had no access to bathroom facilities. The JVI legal team filed a complaint and prayed for a favorable response.
The Rescue: On January 3rd at 9:30 am, JVI and local NGO staff, government officials and police arrived in the village to conduct an inquiry. During the course of inquiry all laborers gave very strong and cogent statements and expressed their willingness to be free from the bondage. The owner was removed from the location and the survivors immediately began to receive services.
Next Steps: In the months ahead, JVI lawyers and its NGO partner will work closely with the government to ensure the perpetrators are prosecuted and that the survivors receive vital aftercare services to help them move forward as free individuals.
*Note: $10,000 provides the financial resources needed to conduct a large scale rescue intervention of this size.
Please consider partnering with us today to free more lives in the months ahead. Your support is greatly appreciated and needed.