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Truly desperate for God’s justice

hands prayer 2The excerpt below is taken from Just Prayer: A Journey through the Work of Prayer and Justice, a new eight-session prayer guide from IJM for those of us who are “desperate for the hand of God to tip the scales in a battle for justice where it seems ‘the wicked prosper’ (Jeremiah 12:1) and the poor and oppressed go without a defender” — even from among the people of God:

The Scriptures tell us that righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne (Psalm 89:14). But when we see families held in slavery, vulnerable girls sexually assaulted, widows forced from their homes, innocent men and women in prison – the very foundation by which God established right order and governance appears shaken. The forces of evil in the world threaten to mock the living God, saying “Where is your God? Where is his justice?”

But, throughout the Psalms, God declares that:

— He will not be mocked (Psalm 37)

— He will rule the nations with justice (Psalm 67)

— He will hear the cries of the oppressed (Psalm 12)

— He will arise to bring rescue and justice to the poor (Psalm 72)

It is because of these promises we can be so steadfast in our hunger and thirst for righteousness. We know God will indeed move on behalf of the oppressed if we ask, and ask relentlessly.

So here we must evaluate the way we live and pray. Are we striving for righteousness? Are we merely asking for justice or truly aching for it? Does our hunger bring us to our knees? If we did hunger in this way—with such desperation that all we could do is pray — how might our world be filled with God’s unshakable justice?

Download the prayer guide in PDF format by clicking here.

Toddlers among 149 freed from slavery at brick kiln in India

toddler brickThe CNN Freedom Project has worked for more than two years on the illegal yet widespread practice of bonded labor in India and now has published a story about the rescue of 149 slaves from a brick kiln — some of whom were as young as 3 years old.

As the article notes, “slavery today exists for two reasons: greed and desperation. It’s greed on the part of landowners and illegal recruiters. And its desperation for the tens of millions of people who are willing to take a risk to improve their lives, no matter how long the odds.”

CNN’s Leif Coorlim, Mallika Kapur and Sara Sidner report:

(CNN) – A flaring furnace blasts another wave of searing heat on the faces of workers hauling bricks under a southern Indian sun.

They work up to 22 hours a day propping heavy stacks of bricks on their heads. None expects to be paid for this labor. None knows how long they’ll be kept here. Some are as young as three years old.

Manoj Singh was one of 149 people rescued this year from a brick kiln outside Hyderabad, India. Like millions of other Indians, the toddler was born into extreme poverty.

When CNN correspondent Mallika Kapur visited Manoj’s family, now back home, he and the some of the 34 other children freed, showed her how they would make the bricks from wet clay.

“They recall from their muscle memory,” says Anu George Canjanathoppil, of International Justice Mission, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating slavery around the world. “So if you ask them to explain what they did, they cannot say.

Older laborers, however, had plenty to say.

According to reports from IJM investigators at the scene, one pregnant woman claimed she was kicked by her manager, when she pleaded for rest. A man had raw wounds so deep that the bone showed through.

The workers’ grueling schedule permitted little time for eating. After being freed and having a full meal, many of the malnourished workers vomited.

“We had to work 18 to 22 hours a day,” Manoj’s father, Lucky Singh, told Kapur. “We didn’t get time to eat or to bathe. One day, I dozed off. Then the boss came and beat me with a stick.”

Lucky says he ended up at the kiln because he was desperate to provide for his impoverished family.

When a recruiter came to his small village in Odisha state in eastern India, near the Bay of Bengal, he willingly went on the promise of a $400 advance, which became a $400 debt – and they were locked into working to try to pay it off. They couldn’t leave without permission and wouldn’t be told when, or if, they could ever pay off their debt.

Bonded labor in India is the most prevalent form of slavery in the world today. It was declared illegal in India in 1976 but persists. A vast majority of India’s workers scrape together a meager living through informal, unregulated work contracts, making them more susceptible to unsafe working environments and exploitation.

Read the rest of this inspiring article and watched a related video by clicking here.

Working alongside the Indian government, International Justice Mission has carried out dozens of raids the past six years in India freeing more than 3,200 people.

149 slaves — 34 of them children — freed at India brick kiln

An Indian migrant child laborer works at a brick kiln near Srinagar, Kashmir, India. An estimated 13 million Indian children are required to work. (CC Xinhua / Javed Dar NC)

An Indian migrant child laborer works at a brick kiln near Srinagar, Kashmir, India. An estimated 13 million Indian children are required to work. Click photo to view slideshow. (CC Xinhua / Javed Dar NC)

The Hindu reports:

As many as 149 bonded labourers, including 34 children, from Orissa who have been made to slog for over 22 hours a day in a brick kiln at Ramakrishnapuram hamlet of Penchikalapahad village have been freed following a raid by Sub-Collector Divya on Tuesday night.

She acted following a complaint lodged by the Delhi-based NGO International Justice Mission, and Jana Jagruti Samsthan. Some of the pregnant women labourers were beaten while working.

She told The Hindu that the bonded labourers, some of whom were badly beaten up, were brought to the village by brothers Gugolath Narasimha and Gugolath Lachiram, contractors, after paying huge amounts. A labourer who was assaulted by the brick kiln operator, boldly lodged a complaint with a representative o f Jana Jagruti, who brought the issue to her notice.

The liberated labourers, including 54 women, were lodged in local ST hostel. They will be sent back to Orissa by a special bogey, attached to Visakha Express on Thursday. Each labourer will be given a relief certificate.

Narasimha and Lachiram have been detained by the Bhongir Rural Police. Investigation is on to find out at whose instance they had acted. Some of them were treated at the Bhongir Area Hospital for injuries sustained while working.

The labourers who hail from districts of Gulamgir, Bargarh and Bhoodlabazar district will be sent to Napoda en route to their onward journey.

Anu George, director of the NGO, praised Ms. Divya for working right through the night to complete the task on hand.’

She has been very cooperative.’ Ms. George said her organisation has liberated about 5,000 bonded labourers in different parts of the country.

This article reblogged from here.
You can help IJM fight injustices like this. Click here to find out how.

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