Entering a brick kiln factory in Pakistan, is a bit like traveling back in time. Six days a week, from dawn to dusk, men, women, children and elderlies shape, arrange, cook and carry millions of bricks, in working conditions close to servitude.
Estimates state that 200 000 families (between 750 000 and 900 000 people) work in the 11 000 brick kiln factories in Pakistan, that includes 250 000 children, who mainly don’t go to school. In the outskirts of Islamabad, adults earn 300 rupees (3 USD) while children earn 250 (2,5 USD) per day.
Because the workers don’t earn enough to survive, they get forced to contract loans offered by the brick owner, that get reimbursed from their meager salaries, making the debts practically impossible to repay in a lifetime. When the parents die, the debt is passed on to the children who can’t leave the factory before reimbursing their parents loan. From generation to generation, families get bonded to their employer by this endless system of debts. In 1992, the Bonded Labour System Act abolished officially this form of labour in Pakistan but the country didn’t succeed to eradicate it.