Blog Post - Jan 4, 2019
/ˌlibəˈrāSH(ə)n/ (noun) the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release.
One of our intentions through the Live Engaged blog is to connect you with our global partners and share specifically about the transforming work they do. Going forward you’ll see more of these updates, especially the change they’re facilitating in vulnerable communities throughout the developing world. We hope these stories from the field encourage you as they do us. At Dairyland they fill our work with purpose, reinforce our commitments, and remind us of our own “bigger picture.”
Today’s update comes from International Justice Mission (IJM), introduced in an earlier post. Often individual rescue operations occur on a rather small scale culminating in perhaps 1, 4, or 7 individuals being removed from modern day enslavement at a time. That is simply the nature of much global slavery – it typically occurs quietly within private spaces such as businesses, farms and even homes. Therefore, to investigate and then interrupt the activities of each requires extensive amounts of time and capital.
Regardless of the scale and speed, each time someone is rescued we celebrate. We celebrate because every rescue means that one more life is transferred from oppression to liberation and one more reminder goes out that injustice and abuse will not be tolerated. It informs corrupt systems and individuals that their time enacting violence against the poor and powerless is limited. We continue to see progress as IJM works tirelessly with local governments, agencies, and other service providers to enable these kinds of outcomes in over 15 countries.
Several weeks ago we received the news that a group of 52 men, women, and children were freed from a ginger farm in southern India just before Christmas as a result of IJM’s work and partnership with local authorities. Despite the happy ending, it is a sobering story of horrific treatment at the hands of the farm owners and managers. Reports state that no one in the group was without visible and notable indicators of trauma and severe physical abuse – including the children. They were held on the farm for 3 years with no wages and locked in a 1-room shed each night.
Now, as a result of the thorough investigation and successful operation, they will all receive the care, treatment, and support needed to heal and be restored. Not only that, IJM is actively working to convict the 5 perpetrators who have been arrested and charged.
Though bonded labor was made illegal in India beginning in 1976, it still persists. Examples such as this call us to act more vigilantly and collaboratively to overthrow slavery in all its forms.
Today we celebrate the 52 lives that will no longer be trapped in violent bonded labor. We celebrate the brave individuals who work for their freedom, often compromising their own safety for protection of others.