Making the world a safer place is by no means easy, but time and time again, International Justice Mission proves itself a dedicated protector of our most vulnerable neighbors.
The nonprofit organization is on a mission to end modern slavery and violence across the globe. In fact, today, there are more slaves than ever before. IJM rescues individuals who were forced into slavery, working with local authorities to stop traffickers and abusers, and enacting positive change in justice systems. To date, they’ve rescued tens of thousands of people and each survivor has an incredible story to tell.
Prepare to be inspired as you read 7 stories of hope and rescue below. Note: All names have been changed to protect the identities of these incredible survivors.
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When her first husband left her, Chandramma went to work in a South Asian silkworm factory to provide for her son. During this time, she married again, gave birth to another son, and found herself trapped, working up to 16 hours a day harvesting silkworm fibers. When she tried to escape the grueling work, her employers locked her and her 4-year-old son in a tiny cell for six months… until IJM staff and local authorities opened the door to her freedom. Today, she uses her voice and story to speak out against slavery.
Kofi was 8 years old when his parents sent him to live with his abuser. The man had promised to give their son a better life by enrolling him in school. Instead, he made Kofi help him fish. Kofi saw many others die doing what he was forced to do: hold his breath in the dangerous waters of east Ghana’s Lake Volta to untangle nets. But hope came one March day when Kofi and nine other boys left on a boat with police officers and IJM rescuers. Now Kofi is living his dream of attending school!
Rita was reeling over the death of her husband when her in-laws turned on her. Using machetes to threaten the mother of six and her children, they seized her land in Uganda along with the shop she and her husband owned. Her livelihood was gone. But because she alerted police, IJM stood and fought with her in court. Now, not only is she the rightful owner of her property once again, but she also runs her own business raising pigs!
At 13 years old, Veronica found the courage to tell her mom about the sexual abuse her father had subjected her to for five years. He fled their home that same night, but police caught up with him three years later in 2016. The next year, IJM’s legal team helped secure a 10-year conviction. Now, Veronica is looking forward to the future and studying special education in honor of her brother, who has a hearing impairment.
Jakelin and her family suffered at the hands of her father as well. He threatened them into silence, but eventually, Jakelin’s mother reported his violent abuse to the Guatemalan police. They notified IJM, which empowered Jakelin to follow her mom’s brave act with one of her own. Her father received an eight-year sentence after she testified against him. Today, she’s a mother herself, an advocate, and at peace knowing her son is safe.
When Thaiyamma and Devendran borrowed $15 from the owner of a wood-cutting facility in South Asia, they had no idea it would cost them their freedom. While working to repay the loan, the couple was enslaved for more than three years. They toiled morning to night while a man they called “the beast” abused them, and they could barely feed their daughter Lavanya. Then, Thaiyamma became pregnant. Fortunately, local authorities and IJM arrived just in time to ensure baby Bablu was born free. “The beast” was put behind bars.
When Pachayamma and her husband Arul were forced to work in a rock quarry in South Asia, they saw no hope for ever escaping their captors. But IJM worked tirelessly and in 2012, they partnered with local authorities to rescue the couple along with six other forced laborers. Now, Pachayamma is paying it forwards as a community leader, helping during the COVID outbreak and providing needed resources to those at risk.
And there are thousands more stories like these. Not only was IJM a part of these peoples’ stories of freedom, but IJM also worked with them to make sure they had a future. We can’t thank everyone involved enough for such a priceless gift, but we can certainly support them!
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This article is sponsored by our good friends at International Justice Mission.
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