Breaking the Chains: Rescuing Naeem Masih’s Family from Slavery

Farrukh Saif

December 12, 2023

Modern Slavery

In the heart of Central Punjab, Pakistan, Naeem Masih and his wife, Noreen Bibi, found themselves trapped in the cruel clutches of slavery within the confines of a brick kiln. Their tale is one of desperation, debt, and unspeakable atrocities.

Slavery: Monstrous Debt

It all began two decades ago when Naeem, seeking a meager sum of 5,000 PKR to meet the family’s basic needs, borrowed from a brick owner in Faisalabad. Little did he know that this seemingly modest loan would evolve into a monstrous debt of 500,000 PKR, casting a shadow over the family’s existence and pushing them into the abyss of bonded labor.

Naeem and Noreen, with their two mentally challenged daughters, Asiya and Parveen, and a son, found themselves toiling tirelessly in the kiln, crafting over 1000 bricks every day. The family’s efforts, instead of being appreciated, were met with cruelty by the Kiln manager. They were frequently mistreated for working at a perceived slow pace despite their relentless dedication to laborious tasks.

However, the most harrowing chapter in their story is the unspeakable ordeal suffered by their mentally challenged daughters. The Kiln watchmen, entrusted with overseeing operations, betrayed this trust in the most heinous manner. Both Asiya and Parveen fell victim to sexual assault, leaving scars that ran more profound than the bricks they molded.

Dark reality: Sexually assault on the mentally Challenged girls

The dark reality of the situation came to light when our organization, informed by a vigilant field pastor who visited the kiln for prayer, intervened. The plight of Naeem and his family epitomizes the multifaceted challenges faced by Slave workers, from insurmountable debts and exploitative working conditions to the grotesque violation of their most vulnerable members.

When they complained to the Kiln owner about the situation, they further stated that. The kiln owner, on the other hand, started shouting at them that it was okay because no one should marry your mentally challenged girls, so perhaps now someone can keep them as concubines, if not as wives.

The impoverished and vulnerable parents, already burdened with significant pressures, now find themselves grappling with debts and mentally challenged daughters. It has become even more agonizing for the parents to witness the sexual assault on their mentally challenged girls, and they are helpless to take any action against the culprits.

Our Action:

Upon learning of the situation with the family, ECSPE team decided to take immediate action and save them from slavery. There were 12 other Christian families trapped in the same kiln, and almost all were treated similarly by the kiln management. Many of their girls, as well as young boys, were sexually assaulted, and they were helpless to intervene. After rescuing the 13 families with their children, we moved them to the most prominent and busiest city to ensure that no one would be able to locate them.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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