CHENNAI: On Monday, revenue department officials from Thiruvallur district rescued 30 Irula tribals, including 11 children, working as bonded labourers in Gummidipoondi taluk.
The Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) of Ponneri, M Narayanan said the labourers, including children, were being made to work in an earthworm-harvesting unit in brackish backwater under harsh conditions.
“Based on a tip from International Justice Mission (IJM), an NGO, we rescued them in the evening,” he said.
All the 30 were from Kanchipuram district and were given release certificates and the initial rehabilitation sum of Rs 1,000.
An IJM member who was part of the rescue mission said the children bore marks of physical labour or abuse.
“They were not given proper wages. Many seemed to be working here for several years,” he said and added that the owner of the unit was absconding.
“The labourers are now in the taluk office. We shall give them the remaining `19,000 as part of the rehab package later and provide all support,” he added.