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Brick kiln debt bondage in Pakistan

  • Published on
    April 5, 2023
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Debt Bondage, Forced Labor
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Vasanti Meghwar, 70, her son, his wife, and their 12 year old child spend their days making bricks in Pakistan in sweltering heat, breathing in harmful brick dust in conditions amounting to modern slavery. Trapped by debts, families are often unable to leave the brick kilns.

Generations of slavery

Dileep, aged 12, knows no life outside of the mud pits and kilns. Two decades ago his family borrowed money from the owner of the brick kilns, and they now spend their days molding and firing bricks under the scorching sun to pay the debt. The brick kiln owner retains half their earnings, but the family are never shown a balance and don’t even know what they still owe.

 Poonjo, Dleep’s father tells Yahoo News:

“There is nothing to be happy about here”

Unscrupulous industry

The Meghwar family are four out of millions of Pakistanis who work in kilns just like these, similar to many other industries around the country making wealthy land owners even more successful whilst those who are most marginalized and with the fewest options for economic survival are at risk of becoming trapped in modern slavery.

The problem can be partly linked to the cultural caste system. Families considered to be of a lower caste are availed of only the least desirable jobs, face poor treatment in the workplace due to discrimination and are faced with greater barriers to accessing their rights.

Dileep’s family are purposely kept in the dark about their loan balance, and are made to work in dangerous, unsanitary and inhumane conditions. Safety is of negligible concern. At the very same kiln, three workers burned alive when they fell into the blaze that is used to bake the bricks. These kilns add to 90% of the country’s air pollution and 20% of kiln workers have chronic respiratory problems.

Child labor

About a third of kiln workers are children in Pakistan, a country in which child labor is illegal. Bonded labor is also unconstitutional in Pakistan, however it is believed that many of these wealthy kiln owners are politically connected and have been likened to operating like a “mafia”.

Watch the full story on Yahoo News.

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Stacey K
Stacey K
25 days ago

People want to help Dileep and his family. How can we send something to them directly?

Anita
Anita
1 month ago

How can we halo this people? How can we halp Dileep? Please for Answear.

Love the world
Love the world
5 days ago

I hope this helps whoever is wanting to help them I pray this family/ people will be okay

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