GCS Pakistan Appeal
Pakistan is considered one of the nations where debt bondage and labour exploitation are most deeply entrenched. The country stands eighth in the Global Slavery Index with an estimated 3,186,000 people living in modern slavery. Products made by forced labour include bricks, coal and carpets as well as crops including cotton and sugar cane.
Recent surveys estimate about 4.5 million people, including some 1 million children, work in slave-like conditions at thousands of brick yards in Pakistan. Bonded labour is widespread, often involving landlords selling and buying labourers, maintaining private jails to discipline them. Cases of landlords and police raping female labourers are frequently reported.
Today, our team had the chance to minister the Gospel and provide food to one such brickyard community in Sahiwal. We met several children (some as young as 11) who are working with their parents to help pay off a debt they can never repay. GCS and our local church partners will continue to do all we can to help these families.
Many people in debt bondage have their passports and other ID documents seized by their employers, leaving the workers unable to leave or in living in fear of being criminalised. Some victims of debt bondage face threats, intimidation and violence from the people that exploit them.
Although bonded labour is illegal, laws against it are rarely enforced, particularly in cases where people in power benefit directly from exploiting others.
Like many forms of modern slavery, bonded labour flourishes where corruption, poverty and discrimination are common. Limited access to justice, education and jobs for discriminated groups make it difficult for them to get out of poverty.
There is a huge need for change in Pakistan, and GCS and our church partners on the ground want to play our part in supporting those in greatest need. Please pray God brings a change to this nation. Please support this vital work.