Archive for the category “Multiply Justice”

Students ‘Stand for Freedom’

Ann Hardie writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

In January 2012, Dustin Hsu’s worldview forever changed after crossing paths with people from International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation and slavery.

“Hearing stories of families working countless hours in brick factories and young girls routinely raped and sold for sex affected me like nothing before,” said Hsu, a senior majoring in industrial engineering at Georgia Tech and president of Tech’s chapter of the International Justice Mission.

Read about Tech’s 27-hour “Stand for Freedom” event in the AJC Q&A with Dustin and in Tech’s student newspaper.
Make a difference for people oppressed by human trafficking through IJM.

Georgia Tech students, led by Dustin Hsu (center right), Stand for Freedom. (Photo: Lauren Brett)

Georgia Tech students, led by Dustin Hsu (center right), Stand for Freedom. (Photo: Lauren Brett)

A light of hope for beggar girls

minaraLaura Fielding reports for AsiaStories:

As the morning sun filters into her family’s one-room shack, Minara wakes up in the bed she shares with her mother, Rahima,* and 1-year-old sister, Sakehna.* She sits up and stretches, her reddish-tinted hair — a sign of malnutrition — askew from last night’s sleep. The rickety bed frame, about the size of a double bed, takes up nearly half of the family’s 8-by-8 house.

This is one of the city’s major slums, where ramshackle homes line either side of two parallel railroad tracks. Numerous trains barrel past each day, violently shaking the flimsy structures sitting just a few feet away. In between the passing of trains, adults and children loiter on the tracks — small children playing tag, women sitting and shucking beans, young boys playing board games and men playing cricket.

The poorest of the poor dwell here — the rickshaw drivers, day laborers, garment factory workers, beggars, single mothers, the unemployed and unemployable. The shacks are makeshift one-room structures of bamboo, wood and corrugated tin with dirt or concrete floors. Minara’s family pays about $15 rent each month to live here.

Minara’s “home” lies at the end of a row of six shacks, three on each side of a narrow, dirt alleyway. The houses share walls as well as a common bathroom area located at the end of the alley. A ragged cloth hangs as a privacy curtain for the enclosed area, which is divided into two small spaces: one for bathing and one for the “toilet” — a hole in the middle of a concrete slab ….

Rahima has been taking care of her children on her own for the past six years. … Six days a week, Rahima and her two daughters are on the street from 9 a.m. until early afternoon — or late at night depending on how much money they make or how they feel. Their daily goal is to earn between 100 and 150 taka (about $1.25 to $1.88).

This isn’t the life that Rahima wants for her children. … “My hope and dream is to give a better education and environment for my children — to help them to become a good woman,” Rahima says quietly. “I do not have any dream for myself. I only have dream and hope for my children.”

Last year, Rahima’s dream came true for Minara — she was able to attend the Light of Hope Learning Center. There, Minara learned to write her name, the Bengali alphabet and numbers; basic hygiene practices such as the importance of brushing teeth, taking regular showers, washing hands and wearing clean clothes; and stories from the Bible about Isa, Jesus. Though Minara and Rahima are Muslim by birth, Minara loves hearing Bible stories — her favorite is when Jesus brought a young girl back to life — and Rahima has “a good impression about Jesus.”

The center also helped support Minara’s family while she attended — Minara received a healthy meal each day, and the center provided the family with food, blankets, school uniforms and shoes.

But after one year, Minara was forced to quit — Light of Hope leadership had to suspend the program because of lack of funding, resources and staff.

Read more about this excellent justice ministry by clicking here.
Make a difference for these girls through OneLife by clicking here.

Toddlers among 149 freed from slavery at brick kiln in India

toddler brickThe CNN Freedom Project has worked for more than two years on the illegal yet widespread practice of bonded labor in India and now has published a story about the rescue of 149 slaves from a brick kiln — some of whom were as young as 3 years old.

As the article notes, “slavery today exists for two reasons: greed and desperation. It’s greed on the part of landowners and illegal recruiters. And its desperation for the tens of millions of people who are willing to take a risk to improve their lives, no matter how long the odds.”

CNN’s Leif Coorlim, Mallika Kapur and Sara Sidner report:

(CNN) – A flaring furnace blasts another wave of searing heat on the faces of workers hauling bricks under a southern Indian sun.

They work up to 22 hours a day propping heavy stacks of bricks on their heads. None expects to be paid for this labor. None knows how long they’ll be kept here. Some are as young as three years old.

Manoj Singh was one of 149 people rescued this year from a brick kiln outside Hyderabad, India. Like millions of other Indians, the toddler was born into extreme poverty.

When CNN correspondent Mallika Kapur visited Manoj’s family, now back home, he and the some of the 34 other children freed, showed her how they would make the bricks from wet clay.

“They recall from their muscle memory,” says Anu George Canjanathoppil, of International Justice Mission, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating slavery around the world. “So if you ask them to explain what they did, they cannot say.

Older laborers, however, had plenty to say.

According to reports from IJM investigators at the scene, one pregnant woman claimed she was kicked by her manager, when she pleaded for rest. A man had raw wounds so deep that the bone showed through.

The workers’ grueling schedule permitted little time for eating. After being freed and having a full meal, many of the malnourished workers vomited.

“We had to work 18 to 22 hours a day,” Manoj’s father, Lucky Singh, told Kapur. “We didn’t get time to eat or to bathe. One day, I dozed off. Then the boss came and beat me with a stick.”

Lucky says he ended up at the kiln because he was desperate to provide for his impoverished family.

When a recruiter came to his small village in Odisha state in eastern India, near the Bay of Bengal, he willingly went on the promise of a $400 advance, which became a $400 debt – and they were locked into working to try to pay it off. They couldn’t leave without permission and wouldn’t be told when, or if, they could ever pay off their debt.

Bonded labor in India is the most prevalent form of slavery in the world today. It was declared illegal in India in 1976 but persists. A vast majority of India’s workers scrape together a meager living through informal, unregulated work contracts, making them more susceptible to unsafe working environments and exploitation.

Read the rest of this inspiring article and watched a related video by clicking here.

Working alongside the Indian government, International Justice Mission has carried out dozens of raids the past six years in India freeing more than 3,200 people.

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