Inside Modern Slavery: The Christian Brick Kiln Workers of Pakistan

Journey into the heart of Pakistan’s brick kilns, where resilient Christians labor under the harsh sun and the heavy yoke of bonded servitude. This is more than a look into the world of brick-making, it’s a glimpse into the lives and faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ who persevere in the face of systemic persecution.

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SCRIPT:

Brian Orme

The air surrounding the brick. kilns of Pakistan is thick, hot and full of dust. Endless walls of rustic bricks draw your gaze upwards to the towering kiln, belching smoke up into the clear sky. Brave men stand atop the kiln, stoking the fiery beast wooden shoes strapped to their feet because rubber doesn’t stand a chance against the heat of the furnace.

In a Pakistani summer. My name is Brian, and I'm here to see what life is really like for Christians in Pakistan. I didn’t come here to gawk or point fingers, but to sit down, break bread and hear their stories over a cup of tea.

I’m here to learn about their lives, their resilient faiths, and how we from our corners of the world can extend our hand in our prayers. This is about understanding, empathy and connection.

This is about being human. A zaib who’s been working in the kilns for over 20 years invited us into his home for tea.

Zaib

My daughters really love to have guests. The tea is here! I will be very happy for our brother to have tea with us. We are 12 people living here. This is my room. We keep a cow over here. My younger son calls her Rano while milking her. My hope is only in God. I know Jesus can help us. Whenever my friends are here for us, I have hope for the future.

Brian

There’s a fascinating rhythm beyond the kiln in the flats where whole families are engaged in an almost musical assembly line. It starts with the production of mud transported via shoddy wheelbarrows and then to the brick makers.

These stoic artists shaping the landscape of their country grab mud, slap it in the mud layer on top, press, seal the edges, flip and repeat lines of freshly minted bricks. Bake in the blistering sun awaiting their destiny.

This is the everyday for these hardy souls, the brick kiln workers, many who are persecuted Christians in Pakistan. Up at 4 a.m., their daily grind involves crafting anything from 1500 to 2500 bricks as a family. Every brick a testament to their tenacity.

And yet there’s another layer to this story. These families are ensnared and bonded slavery laboring under colossal debts that will haunt them for generations.

The cycle is brutal, often started by loan sharks posing as benefactors in times of medical emergencies, weddings, or just to put food on the table. It’s a debt they carried generation after generation. They’re the property of the brick kiln until Grace intervenes.

Zaib

My whole body believes in Jesus. I keep my hope in God. I keep my belief in God. I don’t get disappointed with how God is working in my life situation. I just say that God is with me and He will help me. All the Christians who live in America are like my family: My daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, and mothers. I pray for all of them, that God may bless them. Keep your faith in God. Keep your hope in God. We are one! Definitely we are one!

Brian

After leaving Pakistan, ASB Story stayed with me as he had such a grateful heart despite his persecution. And his faith was an inspiration. I knew that with the support of Christians in the US, we could make a difference for our persecuted family in Pakistan.

With the help of generous supporters, I returned to the brick kilns of Pakistan three months later with a check from Global Christian Relief to pay off Asb's debt and the debts of several other families.

Now these families are free from generational slavery in the kilns grasp. I would like to say to them, may the Lord Jesus Christ bless them. Our prayers for you that that you are able to stay out of debtand to work and get a fair wage.

And we pray the same for your daughters and for your sons. At GCR we have a vision to change the story for Christians in Pakistan. We want to see stereotypes broken and an end to discrimination through education, relief, training and a vision to release hundreds of Christian families from bondage slavery.

We want to see the church thrive. You can help make this reality. Help us change the future for believers like he. Our earning is never enough to pay off our debt.

Zaib

My son’s wife was having a baby and needed an emergency delivery. We didn’t have enough money for her operation so she died within a day. I will tell you one thing, a person came to me and said, “you should convert to Islam” I asked him why?

He said that I will get you married once again and I will find you a good wife and I also got married almost three years ago so I will also give you 4 lac rupees. I asked him will you change your father’s name to my father’s name? He refused. Then I said that why would I put your father’s name into mine. I won’t do it. I don’t want wealth or any kind of jewels. My Jesus is alive, my father is alive.

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