Modern Day Slavery In Pakistan


Many laborers have to go through physically challenging work every day, no matter their age.

Olivia Pelaez, Staff Writer

Many poor citizens in Pakistan face the everyday struggle of manipulation into bonded labor, a form of modern slavery that still exists in rural parts of Pakistan. The most important building material in Pakistan is brick, which is made in kilns, and the owners of Pakistan’s brick industry are extremely powerful and corrupt. Poor citizens in dire need of money for various reasons get loans believing they will be able to pay their debts off after a few weeks of working, but the loans start to gain interest until they can no longer be paid off. Eventually people get stuck in a cycle of working long hours each day, without ever seeing the money they earned.

When workers cannot pay off their dues in their lifetimes, their debts are passed on to their children, leading to child labor. If workers try to escape, they are often tortured and their families are harassed.

“These are people who were put in a difficult spot to give up their freedom and don’t have any room to find a way out of this situation. It’s a serious problem and many people aren’t knowledgeable about this issue,”  sophomore Melanie Wu said.

The popular Instagram page Humans of New York recently visited Pakistan and documented the stories of several Pakistanis and their lives in the kilns. Syeda Ghulam Fatima has been fighting against corruption in Pakistan and advocating for workers’ rights her entire life and has been harassed, tortured and even shot for her work. Humans of New York set up a fundraiser to help Fatima in her efforts against the Kiln owners and raised over two million dollars in a matter of days.