Renu Devi is proof that change in possible, even after generations of bondage in India.

Renu was 17 when she married and began her life of forced labor. Her husband was part of the Kamiya system—a form of caste-based, generational debt bondage. For four generations his family was enslaved and exploited for agricultural labor, with no hope of repaying the debt.

Renu was now part of that cycle.

Renu and her husband labored long hours in blazing heat, with no electricity or toilets, in exchange for a few handfuls of rice per day. She persevered in order to feed her family.

Justice Ventures International (JVI) and one of its local partners received information of the ongoing exploitation and began documenting cases, like Renu’s.

After months of investigation and petitioning, authorities intervened. The couple, along with 161 villagers, were released.

The freed laborers learned about their rights and received release certificates officially freeing them from slavery. Through JVI’s aftercare services, Renu found new strength. She used her compensation money to purchase livestock to help support her family.

Only two years after escaping, she was encouraged to run in the village election. In an unprecedented victory, she edged out the higher caste male candidate, who was supported by her former owner.

Today, Renu is transforming the village. As a government official, she issues contracts to build canals and drainage systems in her village. Renu ensures that freed bonded laborers have the opportunity to work on these projects.

Renu looks to the future, where her children can “study, have proper jobs, and stand on their own feet.”

“After my rescue from bonded labor, I can live life as I please. I can go wherever I want, work where I want. I can eat, sleep, work, and take care of my family. Life is much better now,” Renu says. “I’ve become a channel of fair employment for others.”

Share this story of rescue with your friends:

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Check out more stories of freedom and restoration

35 Rescued From Bonded Labor

On November 10th, 2019 JVI along with one of our local partners, government officials and local authorities rescued 35 bonded labor victims (8 families) from agricultural bondage in Chakai, Bihar, India.  Chakai is a large village located in Jokihat Block of Araria district,

Read More »

Three Boys Rescued From Child Slavery

On November 28th, 2019 JVI partnered with Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), the local Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and the police to conduct a rescue intervention of three boys from illegal bonded child labor in a zari

Read More »

JVI Launches Justice Resource Reporter

JVI recently launched our Justice Resource Reporter, a monthly newsletter designed to educate and equip our partners and other stakeholders by providing access to justice news, reports, and helpful resources to promote freedom, justice, and restoration. Sign up for JVI

Read More »

Join us to transform unjust communities for good.