Brick making is a valuable industry to Pakistan – indigenous and providing employment in rural areas where agriculture may not be enough to sustain all the people.
There are 1.8 million workers in brick kiln factories. Most of them work under inhuman conditions and the majority are like bonded labour because of the peshgi system. Under this system, the bosses offer advance money to workers, who cannot leave until they repay the whole amount. Most of the workers are illiterate and they do not know how much money is being repaid. The take advantage of this and impose many so-called fines on workers.
Many brick factories today are built in extremely rural areas. Afghan refugees, for example, easily find employment in brick kilns since they are more willing to work under the gruesome conditions in the field than to return back to the troubles in their own country. As such, it has become more common to see a worsening of the work conditions, where long hours in the sun at temperatures exceeding 40 Celsius would only result in daily average pays of 50-70 Rupees per day.
Child labour is a major issue for some Pakistani industries, and brick kilns are a good example of that. Children as young as 5 years old can be found employed at these factories. The income of the household, not being enough to feed the entire family, means that many children, who should be in school playing with other children their age, instead must go to the local brick factories and work long hours. They work all day, and sometimes into the night – for barely enough money to feed themselves and their siblings at home.
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