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Babu Shah

2017 (Narrative Date)

Entire families migrate every year from other states in India to find work in Punjab’s brick kilns. The survey data suggest that there are more than 18 million people or 1.4 percent of the total population, who are living in conditions of modern slavery in India. Industries implicated in survey data include domestic work, the construction and sex industries, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, manual labour, and forced begging. Most of India’s slavery problem is internal, and those from the most disadvantaged social strata—lowest caste Dalits, members of tribal communities, religious minorities, and women and girls from excluded groups—are most vulnerable.

Babu Shah and his family were trapped in bonded labour in a brick kiln.

We have been working for him for the last three years and he hasn’t paid anything or settled our payments so far. This year we did not go to his brick kiln. He has filed a case on us for an amount of 125,000 rupees ($1950 USD). He send the police to our home twice everyday, abuses and threatens to hurt my children and make them incapable to work. He calls me up and abuses in filthy language and threatens to abduct my daughters. Twelve members of our family work in the kiln. We used to take out the baked bricks and stack them. All of us worked day and night in the kiln. We were made to take out really hot bricks. Only the hands and hearts of our children know how hot those bricks were. He made us take out extremely hot bricks that our hands got burned. Our children weren’t able to use their hands, not even to eat food.

Narrative and image provided by Anti-Slavery International