When Justice and Care partnered with the police to save Ramesh*, he’d been working in an ice cream parlour, seven days a week, from the aged of 12, without payment.
As a young child Ramesh had been forced to work with his siblings on street stalls – to pay for his father’s drinking and gambling addiction. After Ramesh’s mother died, he lived by the side of a railway station, regularly passing days without eating.
Aware that things were difficult for Ramesh, a family friend tricked him into leaving his home town, aged 12, under the pretext of getting him a well-paid job. They travelled to a city 1,500 miles from home, where Ramesh was sold into forced labour. But things were worse than Ramesh knew: his younger brother had also been sold into slavery, many miles away.
The rescue was part of a larger operation in the area to tackle child labour – and saw 27 people arrested and Ramesh and many peers freed and taken to a shelter home.
Miraculously, Ramesh’s younger brother was also rescued. They were reunited after being separated for five years.
With dreams of buying his own house and providing for his brother, Ramesh has been attending a local school to get the qualifications required for doing a Hotel Management course.
A Justice and Care social worker said, “Ramesh is a very special boy. I am so proud of his determination to study and work so that his little brother can have a brighter future”.
*Names changed to protect identities