In response to a petition submitted by survivor leaders from Jeevana Jwala (a survivor network in Andhra Pradesh, India), local government officials rescued a family of six on August 8, 2023. The parents and four children aged between 3 and 11 years old had been working on an agricultural farm for nine months under exploitative circumstances and an abusive owner.
The owner had lured the family to move to Andhra Pradesh from Tamil Nadu with an attractive job offer and a monthly salary of 15,000 rupees (CA$248.55) per person. But at the worksite, they were forced to work for 13 hours every day and were only paid 5,000 rupees (CA$82.85) for the whole family. The owner claimed that he had deducted rent and other expenses. But the family lived in a tent and were only able to eat two meals per day. Furthermore, the owner stopped the children from going to school and forced them to work with their parents. He also beat the father and the children if they refused to work.
When government officials arrived at the farm, the victims were still intensely afraid of the owner and were unable to share the full truth of the abuse they experienced. Without their full testimony at this time, officials were not able to complete other bonded labour procedures like creating Release Certificates to break their false debts to the owner. However, officials arranged for an auto-rickshaw to take them safely to their village in Tamil Nadu.
The family is now free from violence. Survivor leaders from Tamil Nadu’s Released Bonded LaboUrers’ Association (RBLA) have stepped in to provide ongoing support to the survivors. Only weeks after their rescue, survivor leaders helped enroll two children (aged 11 and 9) in a residential school to resume their education. RBLA leaders will continue to guide the family as they navigate challenges arising in freedom.