06/29/2021, 15.33
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More brick kiln enslaved families freed thanks to AsiaNews (VIDEO)

by Shafique Khokhar

The brick kiln owner in Faisalabad tried to keep his hold on families with new bills, but this debt was also repaid with the generosity of our readers. Some beneficiaries speak out. “He wanted to keep us slaves, but he didn't know that God is great and in his design he wants us free,” said one.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – They had repaid their debt, but their employer had tried to hold them again with some electricity bills. Thanks to the generosity of our readers however, seven more families were able to leave the brick kiln.

The campaign promoted by AsiaNews since last December in cooperation with the Diocese of Faisalabad to help workers held in debt slavery with their families has benefitted a few more grateful people.

About 52 families have been able to pay off their debt with a brick kiln owner, thanks to the not always easy mediation of the AsiaNews correspondent

The agreement gave these families the right to leave by June, once the brick making season is over.

Eight families have already managed to leave, but seven others were held back by electricity bills. This obstacle has now been removed and the families are free to start a new life.

“I've been here 20 years,” said Aslam Masih, a 55-year-old Christian, speaking to AsiaNews.

“I have three daughters and two young sons. The oldest is now 18, and she also works in the brick factory. We tried in every way to repay the debt of 150,000 rupees (about US$ 950) but couldn’t.

“Because of the pandemic we had to contract another loan, but thanks to AsiaNews’s campaign, in March, we returned all the money.”

Still, the employer forced them to work until June, albeit paying them, Aslam explained. “Seven families were left. At the beginning of the month he offered us another loan to force us to stay, but we refused.

“At that point he said that we could leave only after paying the electricity bills, which amounted to another 120,000 rupees (about US$ 760). So we asked  AsiaNews for help. And thanks to you, we are now finally free; our prayers have been answered; no one would have believed it.”

“For us it is independence day,” said Neelam Bibi, Qasim Masih’s wife and mother of two young children. “We were worried about our kids. We didn't want them to grow up here. But we had contracted a debt for my son's medicines and 160,000 rupees (US$ 1,000) was too much money for us.

“We pray every day for the people who, through AsiaNews, helped us repay the debt first and now also these bills that the owner imposed on us.

“He wanted to keep us slaves, but he didn't know that God is great and in his design he wants us free. What a relief to know that our children will now be able to go to school and will not be slaves to anyone anymore.”

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See also
‘You have set us free from slavery,’ say unemployed workers indebted to kiln owners
03/03/2021 17:02
More families freed from brick kiln slavery thanks to the AsiaNews campaign (VIDEO)
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Faisalabad, the 'miracle' of freedom for brick factory indebted
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Dilawar Masih and Sana Bibi, a life sentence of work in a brick factory (VIDEO)
28/01/2021 09:16


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