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India

Fighting Modern Slavery

There are millions of people trapped in forms of modern slavery in India: more than anywhere else in the world, according to some estimates.

While India has strong laws against both sex trafficking and forced labour, historically, these anti-slavery laws have not been enforced, and traffickers and slave owners have exploited children, women and men with impunity.

When we first began work in India, slavery seemed hidden: Many people told us they didn’t believe it still existed in the country, and those who were aware of it didn’t have hope that anything could change.

But the scales are starting to tip toward justice—and, every day, we are seeing proof that makes us more confident that slavery in India can end within our lifetime.

“From my work on the frontlines, I can see the momentum for change building. I believe we are facing a very unique window of opportunity in India to make lasting change; to redirect the course of history. We can be the generation that ends slavery in India once and for all.”

Saju Mathew IJM Vice President of Programs, South Asia

Since 2000, IJM and our trained partners have secured freedom for more than 16,000 survivors of forced labour—and more than 1,000 survivors of sex trafficking. Thousands of former slaves have participated in IJM’s aftercare program since 2006.

We have provided training to nearly 64,000 Indian officials, and are seeing them respond with unprecedented mass enforcement actions against forced labour slavery on their own initiative. This is what will make the fight against slavery sustainable.

Our innovative two-year aftercare program for former slaves begins with a Freedom Training, where participants learn the basics of life in freedom—from opening a bank account to building healthy families—and includes seminars, one-on-one meetings and community support groups. We are now training partners to replicate our successful model, which has expanded our impact across the country.

Our Team in India

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