Bonded brick kiln workers in Pakistan

May 2015

Approximately one million people work under incredibly harsh conditions as bonded labour, producing bricks.

A person becomes a bonded labourer when their work is taken as a method of loan repayment. The person is very often trapped or tricked into working for very little, or even nothing at all; the total value of their work eventually far outstripping the value of the original loan. Debts can be passed to subsequent generations with entire families becoming trapped. Violence and threats against workers, to keep them in line, are commonplace.

Bonded labour is prevalent because of the extreme poverty and class discrimination that exists, making these people easy targets for exploitation. Loans are needed just for daily survival.

As a consequence of the hard work and poor living conditions, many workers suffer from poor health.  Often they do not have access to medical help or can not afford it.

In response to these needs, two MMS have started a project at a kiln compound. From a small ambulance, they run regular consultations and teach the children reading, writing and basic health care skills. They have worked with human rights organisations and recently the right to a minimum wage has been won.
 

Medical Mission Sister Pauline Sadiq, right

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