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An Impossible Search

March April2018 Suriya Slavery Feature Header

An Impossible Search

Imagine trying to find one young boy in a nation of over one billion people. He's being abused, he's afraid, and he just wants to go home.

No child should live in slavery.

But this was the daily life of Suriya, a boy who was taken and held captive over 1400km away from his home in India.

Your gifts send rescue to children trapped in slavery.

It began when his family, desperately poor, accepted a cash advance from a man in exchange for their son’s labour at a candy factory.

While other boys his age were enjoying their childhood in freedom, eleven-year-old Suriya and his cousin Vijay endured a bitter life of slavery, beatings and verbal abuse.

Suriya’s parents had no idea that he was trapped in darkness and longing to be free.

For the next few years, Suriya was forced to work 16-hour days with barely any rest or good food.

Vijay was able to escape the factory and travel back to tell Suriya’s parents about the violence he and Suriya endured.

Vijay shared how the factory owner's wife beat him with an iron rod and scalded his legs with hot oil when he accidentally added too much salt to a recipe.

Suriya’s parents were horrified to learn of the violent torture endured by the child labourers in the factory.

They were even more horrified when the factory owner called and threatened to kill Suriya if his cousin did not return.

Suriya’s parents reported the situation to the authorities and a local NGO contacted IJM for help.

We immediately set to work with the NGO partners and police to find Suriya.

After a gruelling six-month cross-country search for this young boy, authorities finally found Suriya alive and made the 1400km journey to bring him home.

"I was not able to control my tears” Arumugam shared, recalling the first time he saw Suriya after so many years. "Suriya was encouraging me not to worry anymore, because he had returned home safely.”

Suriya Family

Without faithful supporters like you, we might not have found Suriya.

Your gifts allow us to keep searching for children just like him for as long as it takes and bring them home safely.

Today, Suriya is doing well. He is safe and enjoying life with his family.

"I am very happy to be home,” Suriya says with a smile. "I want to be a responsible son...finish my education and work to help my family.”

IJM Suriya rescued

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