CHENNAI: A total of 31 persons, including 11 children, who were forced to live in inhuman conditions as bonded labourers in a charcoal-making unit at Somadevanpattu village near Mylapore in Tiruvallur district were rescued by revenue officials during a surprise raid on Friday.
Officials said they were paid `150 as weekly salary per family and held hostage for the advance given to them. The raid followed a tip off from International Justice Mission, an NGO.
“The unit owner M Shanmuganathan has fled and a search is on for him. Many of them were working for over five years. All children, except two toddlers, were forced to work. They were rarely allowed to go out and even if allowed, a member of the family is held back to ensure that they return,” said R Abhirami, Revenue Divisional Officer.
The workers hailing from Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai and Vellore districts belonged to Irula community. On Saturday, they were given relief assistance and sent to their native villages.