Christian Persecution: Akhlaq Masih’s 30-Year Struggle for Freedom from Brick Kiln Bondage

Farrukh Saif

February 21, 2024

Christian Persecution: Akhlaq Masih

In Punjab, Pakistan, Akhlaq Masih, a 32-year-old Christian, along with his wife, child, and father, Hafeez Masih, found themselves ensnared in a web of modern-day slavery that spanned three decades. This harrowing story sheds light on the pervasive issue of bonded labor, where families are trapped in a vicious cycle of debt and exploitation.

Origins of the Tragedy:

Hafeez Masih, once a farmer, was ousted from his family due to a dispute with his brothers. With his wife and son, he sought refuge in a Brick Kiln, taking a mere thousand rupees to secure essential items for survival. The initial years were bearable, but after three years, the family was indebted by 20,000 PKR, a common plight for those employed in such establishments.

The Cycle of Exploitation:

Brick Kilns are notorious for providing meager wages, pushing workers to take loans for their basic needs. These loans, with exorbitant interest rates, become a never-ending cycle. Monthly wages are deducted to repay the interest, leaving the principal untouched. The debt escalates as the family requires more funds, creating a perpetual cycle of financial servitude.

Over 30 years, the Masih family’s debt soared to a staggering 1,275,000 PKR. The Kiln owner, taking advantage of their dire situation, increased pressure on them to work more. However, the debt remained insurmountable, leading to a shift in tactics – the threat of forced conversion to Islam in exchange for cutting half of their debt.

A Cry for Help and Rescue Mission:

Caught between the relentless pressure to repay debt and the looming threat of religious conversion, the Masih family sought solace in their faith. They confided in a pastor working with the ECSPE , Our organization dedicated to collecting data on Christian slaves in Brick Kilns.

The news of the Masih family’s plight reached the ECSPE , prompting swift action. Our team in Pakistan planned a rescue mission. Through determination and by the grace of God, not only the Masih family but also numerous others facing the same predicament were liberated from the clutches of bonded labor and forced religious conversion.

An Urgent Plea:

As the rescued families begin the journey towards healing and rehabilitation, the ECSPE appeals to the international community for support. They seek solidarity in the mission to rescue and protect persecuted Christians trapped in the vicious cycle of bonded labor.

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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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