Modern Slavery in Pakistan: 2015

According to a report issued by The Global Slavery Index , Pakistan has an estimated 2,058,200 people who are trapped in slavery of one form or another. That equals approximately 1.13% of the entire population, or more than 1 out of every 100 people in Pakistan is a slave.

Slaves are used in the production of : food, bricks, carpets, coal, cotton, rice, sugar, and wheat, while the most prevalent form of slavery, bonded labor, is mainly found in the brick making, agriculture, and carpet weaving industries. Although official statistics are not available, it is estimated that the brick kiln industry employs around 4.5 million people country wide, and it is believed that the majority of the brick kiln workers in the Punjab Province are, in fact, bonded laborers.

BONDED LABOR

It is believed that bonded labor is the most widespread form of slavery in the world. Yet it remains the least understood form of slavery in the world. A person becomes a bonded laborer when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan. The person is then tricked or trapped into working for very little or no pay. The fair market value for the work performed becomes exceedingly greater than the original sum of money borrowed. More often than not, the debts are passed onto the next generations. For many, the children born to the slave become slaves themselves, working on repaying the family debt.

In the Pakistani brick industry, a slave may make only $1 to $2 dollars a day. After paying their master forced rent, and buying an insufficient amount of food, there is not much left to pay back a loan. A $500 loan can put a family into slavery for ten years or more, as interest accrues and the other issues of life occur.

Many bonded laborers are forced to work to repay debts their employer says they owe, and they are not allowed to work for anyone else. Violence and threats can be used to coerce them to stay, and in some cases they are kept under surveillance – sometimes under lock and key.

slave at work digging dirt for bricks.

Bonded labor slave digging the dirt used to make the bricks.

WHY DOES BONDED LABOUR EXIST?

Bonded labor exists because of the persistence of poverty, widespread discrimination making large groups of people vulnerable to exploitation and the existence of people who are prepared to exploit the desperation of others. The need for cash for daily survival forces people to sell their labor in exchange for a lump sum of money or a loan. In South East Asia bonded labor is rooted in the caste system and predominately affects Dalits (the lowest caste called ‘Untouchables’).

Despite the fact that bonded labor is illegal governments are rarely willing to enforce the law, or to ensure that those who profit from it are punished. Widespread discrimination against some social groups means they have limited access to justice, education and ways to get themselves out of poverty which is one of the main reasons the debt is taken in the first place.

slave woman

Slave woman working while her children are on break.

Click on the thumbnails prints for full size photo.

I have a dear friend in Pakistan who is a school teacher. School teachers in Pakistan make around $200USD per month. After paying her monthly bills, she uses the majority of the remaining money to work with the slave children at one of the brick yards. In November of 2014 she shared with me, her desire to bless the slave children with a new pair of clothes, and some basic necessities such as soap and toothpaste. We set up a campaign to raise money and were able to send over $1,200USD to purchase the items. You can see what we did here. All of the children were able to receive new garments, necessities and snack items. Many of the children had never had cake until that day.

I had recently sent another contribution to this dear woman of God, when she contacted me about using the money, along with her own funds, to pay off an entire families debt and free them from slavery. There was a family who she knew that has been in slavery for close to 23 yrs due to a loan they took out when the husband's father was diagnosed with cancer. The balance due to free this family was less than $400USD.

In order to free this family of five, we needed to 1) pay off the debt, 2) find them someplace to live, 3) purchase two weeks worth of food, and 4) establish a small business selling produce for the husband to support his family. I am overjoyed to tell you that this was accomplished on February 19th, 2015!!

Paying off the debt !! Freedom from slavery !!

In the news ...

November 10, 2014

Brickmaker laborer murdered leaving 3 children in slavery

"A pregnant Pakistani woman killed alongside her husband for alleged blasphemy was wrapped in cotton so she would set alight faster, relatives who witnessed the horrific attack revealed.

Shama Bibi, 24, and her husband Sajjad Maseeh, 27, also had their legs broken so they could not flee the mob that locked them inside a brick-making factory before their murder.

The couple were surrounded by crowd of at least 1,200 and thrown on top of a brick kiln where they were burned alive, witnesses said." read more


 

Many families in need

There are many families who owe less than $500USD to purchase their freedom. Many of these families will never be able to pay off these loans without help. It is our desire to help as many people as we can, escape the life of slavery.

Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.”” (2 Corinthians 8:13–15, NLT)


Family at brick yard

Help us help them

We were able to help this one family, but there are many more who are in need. Every cent that is raised is used directly to support these slaves.

We try to go on a weekly basis to share with them that there are people who care about their situation and want to help. We provide whatever needs they may have, including basic necessities as well as an occasional treat or two.

Together we can make a world of difference in their lives. If everyone would share just a little from their abundance, then these poor people will be able to live a decent life.

Please consider what you may be able to do to help.

Click on the thumbnails prints for full size photo.

The ladies of the household expressing their thanks to God that their
days of slavery are over !

       

Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?” (James 2:19–20, The Message)

 

Our friend working at his new business selling produce !

And if thy brother who is with thee become poor, and he fail in resources with thee, thou shalt help him as a stranger and a sojourner, and thy brother shall live with thee. Thou shalt not receive from him interest, nor increase: and thou shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord: and thy brother shall live with thee. Thou shalt not lend thy money to him at interest, and thou shalt not lend thy meat to him to be returned with increase. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Chanaan, so as to be your God.” (Leviticus 25:35–38, Brenton LXX En)

Blessed is the man who thinks on the poor and needy; the Lord shall deliver him in an evil day.
(Psalm 40:1, Brenton LXX En)


Our friends thanking the LORD that their days of slavery
have come to an end. Thank you for helping us, help them.

More Information :

Bonded by evil: Brick-kiln workers continue to bake amid owners’ cruelty - The Express Tribune, Published: September 15, 2013

Paying their debts back brick by brick: The Pakistani modern day slaves trapped in a lifetime of hardship - Daily Mail, Published: December 03, 2014

PAKISTAN: End Slavery And Bonded Labour

Pakistan's Forgotten Plight: Modern-Day Slavery - Time, Published:

Pakistan Has 2.1 Million Slaves, Says Report - Newsweek, Published: October 17, 2013

List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor - Report - U.S. Department of Labor, Published: December 01, 2014

 

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