There are from 3 million to 8 million bonded laborers across Pakistan, working like slaves, many in kilns making bricks. Families must make a thousand bricks before sundown every day all year round.
Many of the workers are children – some as young as three years old. Workers don’t earn enough to pay for a single decent meal a day, let alone their clothing, bedding, and other needs. They become badly malnourished, leading to sickness, which they cannot afford to treat.
This is 21st Century slavery.
Ghulam Fatima represents one of the only organizations that is working to abolish the bonded labor. In her lifetime, she has been beaten and imprisoned.
“When I see the situation with the kiln workers and the brutalities committed against those women, when I see that, I don’t fear death.”
“If the police just did their job, there would be an end to bonded labor.”
Laborers are under the constant fear of retribution if they try to escape. The brick kilns are in the middle of nowhere, so even if they run, they cannot hide.
It is common for the police to accept bribes from the kiln owners.
This is the story of one family who is trying to escape from the kiln owners to a life of freedom.
A smaller group attended this evening – Henriette was able to stop by early on before the film.