Due to poverty and lack of education, Christians in Pakistan often borrow money from brick kiln owners. They are then required to work, making bricks, to repay the loan. The size of the loan tends to be small, but the terms are designed to keep it growing indefinitely.
The family, including children as young as five, are forced to work at the brick kiln to pay the debt. These children spend 10 hours a day making bricks, instead of going to school.
A VOM worker recently visited families in a number of brick kilns and reported: “A family’s daily quota is 1,000 bricks per day, and they are not paid for bricks destroyed by the weather. An inspector is employed to check the bricks, taking 20% of the family’s income.
“These children, considered lower class, are open to all forms of abuse, including kidnapping and sex trafficking. I interviewed a number of parents whose daughters have been kidnapped, forced to marry Muslim men and convert to Islam. If they are not compliant, they can be sold into sex slavery.”
Voice of the Martyrs is committed to help break the intergenerational cycle of bonded labour and abuse and is supporting Mrs Y, the facilitator of education classes at seven brick kilns. The kilns are located in seven districts of Pakistan and Mrs Y is currently teaching 379 children.
Many of these children will be the first literate members of their families.
Thank God for Mrs Y’s commitment to help Christian children in Pakistan and also for her strength, in the light of her own family’s experience with persecution.
In 2015, her husband was working for Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, a ministry that aids persecuted Christians. He and his brother boldly accused the government of failing to protect Christian minorities. Shortly afterwards both men, along with Mr Y’s eldest son, were wrongly accused of murder.
Their names appeared on wanted posters and were broadcast on the television news. The three men fled to Thailand in fear of their lives.
Mrs Y and the couple’s other four children have not seen the three men since they fled. In Pakistan, the family is monitored by the authorities.
Mrs Y has taken three abandoned children into her home, giving her seven children to support.
Please pray for the continued protection of Mrs Y’s children and for the reunion of this family.