From one of our contacts in Pakistan, via Keith Davies…
Bonded labor is the most recent form of slavery in Pakistan. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), more than 4.5 million kiln workers and their generations are experiencing overburden and bonded labor problems at around 18,000 brick kilns spread across the country.
On May 20, 2013, our team rescued a family of 9 from Pasroor, district Sialkot. A Christian man named Yaqoob Masih took a loan of 10,000 Rupees in 1989 from Ch. Muhammad Riaz, owner of the kiln at Qila Kallarwala Tehsil Pasroor District Sialkot. He started working at the Kiln along with his son named Sait, age 17.
Ch. Muhammad Riaz paid him 100 Rs daily for making 1000 Bricks in which he used to give him 65 Rs with 35 Rs taken out as an interest on the loan, whereas the actual amount would remain as it is. In 1992, Yaqoob’s elder son Sait died of Cholera. Yaqoob Masih again took 5000 loan from Muhammad Riaz for the treatment of Sait.
After the death of Sait Masih, Yaqoob Masih took his other two sons named Taif Masih and Abid Masih to help and work at the Kiln. Taif and Abid were 13 and 15 years of age respectively when they started working in the Kiln. Even after working day and night, the family was unable to pay their loan which was 15000 thousand Rupees.
Gradually, the Loan increased day by day and now it is 275,000 Rs.
In 2001, after the death of Yaqoob Masih, the owner took all the family and placed them in his kiln compound as bounded labor where every member of the family was forced to work at the kiln.
Recently, Taif Masih along with his wife and children, tried to escape from the place but the owner caught them and tortured them badly. Later on, he started forcing them to convert to Islam if they wanted to be free from the loan. When they refused, he tied them with chains, locked them up while keeping the men separate from the women and children. When our team’s Lawyer got the information, he contacted the local police station and some of the influential people of the local area. On May 20th, with the help of the police and some Muslim human Rights workers, our team rescued them. It was a very difficult task as the whole area is filled with religious lunatics and the day before this rescue mission our staff was threatened by Islamists.
However, with the Help of Lord Almighty, we were able to rescue our brothers and sisters from the slavery.