In my summer of 2013 I travelled back to India for the first time since I had lived there for three and a half years with hopes of furthering my research and understanding of modern day slave labor in India for my up and coming novel Freedom Child. Going into this trip, I only hoped that I could maybe meet a few former or current slaves and learn from their stories, but by the time I left India, I had over 60 interviews and endless new knowledge to a subject I realized I had only begun to understand.
During my trip, I spent two weeks in various villages in Karnataka and Delhi, India working with organizations that prevent bondage labor, solve the issues of extreme poverty, and also the US Embassy in Delhi. The first half of my trip was spent interviewing men and women who were formally in bondage labor or whose parents had been trapped in labor for many years. Later into my trip I travelled to different cities and worked with different leaders from Jeevika to learn more about their individual stories. Through these interviews I was able to learn the process in which they get people out of their situations and the ways to prevent further debt bondage from trapping families in slavery.
Through out my journey, I travelled to brick and silk factories, agriculture fields and deeply impoverished rural villages, quarries, and was even chased out of a factory by owners threatening to break our iPads and recording devices. I didn't exactly realize how dangerous my work was until I came home and retold my stories, but each and every risk was worth it. Towards the end of my trip I met with Anita Reddy and went into the urban slums, which were then juxtaposed to her rehabilitated communities, schools and homes, which had formally been impoverished, unsanitary slums. After leaving Bangalore and all of its adventures, I flew to Delhi where I met with a member who works in the Embassy and discussed how the US Embassy influences policy change in India.