Pakistan’s Bonded Slaves

In this episode of Slavery: A 21st Century Evil, Al Jazeera’s Rageh Omaar investigates slavery that is passed down from father to son, mother to daughter.

“There is no way out. How do I get out? I have no way out of this. My grandfather died here, my father has grown old here, and I am growing old too. We are slaves, we are not free.”

Ashraf, a bonded labourer

Although the practice of bonded labour is common in several parts of the world, in Pakistan and India, the systematic enslavement of generations of workers is widespread as governments fail to enforce their own laws against bonded labour.

Rageh meets men, women and children labouring in quarries and brick kilns, in dangerous conditions and for effectively no pay.

Most of these slaves have been held for generations, paying off a supposed ‘loan’ taken out by their grandparents.

Some have been lucky enough to escape but others have had to buy their way out of it by selling their organs to help pay off the ‘debt’.

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