Read a few real life stories of debt bondage and other forms of slavery from live interviews in the villages in Southern Karnataka, India.  These are the real heros of India...the people who found the courage to break free from their bonds and the dedicated members of Jeevika who are working to ensure freedom today and for all future generations.
Click on the name to read more about their personal stories.

In the summer of 2013 I returned to Karnataka, India on a personal research inquiry for my book. Although I had witnessed the surface of child labor and extreme poverty in India, I wanted to see the issue of modern slavery first-hand. With the help of a generous organization Jeevika I was able to interview over 65 current and former slaves. I absconded into silk factories, agriculture farms, granite quarries, and was chased out of a brick factory by furious, slave masters. I lived with the Dalit and Muslim communities and heard their heartbreaking stories about the unfathomable discrimination that oppresses them.


Throughout my book I weaved in the true stories that I have heard and seen; even though Freedom Child is a fictional novel, it is based on the true realities of millions of men, women, and children enslaved today.

From: Megalapalya Village, in Peavagada Taluk, Tumkur District

Entered into bonded labor when he was just 10 years old.  He shares his stories of abuse and exploitation by the landowners he was bound to for 36 years.  His story shows the control over his family for 4 generations.

From: Sidlagatta

Gayatri has been working in a silk factory since the age of 7. She is 15 years old now and had little hope of leaving until she was discovered by the Jeevika team.  

This section also shows what these silk making factories look like and how difficult it is to find their operations.  

From:  Hallikerea Village in Madhur Talak, Mandya District

Jayaboriah was forced to quit school in the 9th grade to work off his father's debt. His story shows how with awareness of debt bondage, one can successfully get out of the debt bondage exploitation and create a way to break the poverty cycle.

Jayaboriah, as a leader within Jeevika, has also helped many others and he shares some of these stories with us.

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From:  Doddamalur Village in the Tumkur District

Father, Uncle, Grandfather and himself were all in bonded labor

Borrowed Rs.5k (equivalant to $10) and the family worked for 10 years to pay that off

Works for Jeevika now at the district level.  1,186 people were in bonded labor in this taluk (53 from his village).  Sanjeevamurth shares stories of himself and of the people he has helped in our interview.

From:  Kaysamballi Village (Bangarpet Talak, Kolar District)

Started at 9 years old and worked until she was 15

Bonded labor doing household work.  She worked continuously with no holidays or breaks and paid only Rs.30 a month (equivalent to 50 cents) and given one pair of clothes and food.

She now works for Jeevika and shares stories of the people she is trying to free in the brick factory and agriculture lands near her village.