Poverty, lack of education and slavery
Poverty and the lack of accessible education are destroying Pakistan. Corruption, political issues, and extremism are feeding the problem.
Many kinds of human trafficking are thriving in the country but the largest is that of bonded labor which is concentrated in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab, particularly in brick kilns.
It is estimated that over one million men, women, and children are in bonded labor in Pakistan today, working in brick-making, carpet-making, agriculture, fishing, mining, leather-tanning and production of glass bangles.
When faced with unforeseen expenses (often medical emergencies) many poor and middle-class families fall prey to manipulative groups or feudal owners, who deceive desperate people by promising reasonable loan terms, or by promising to send a family member overseas for gainful employment.
As a result, an entire family can become enslaved for life.
The enslaved family is forced to work from dawn to dusk for pitiful wages which very often are not even paid at all. They are guarded like prisoners by armed guards and most brick kilns are in the middle of the countryside, so they have no opportunity to escape.
Even after many years of bonded labor, the uneducated workers are repeatedly told by the owner that their debt is still outstanding. All sorts of arguments are used never to release them. All this often happens with the complicity of local police and authorities.
Culture, women and slavery
Women without education are treated worse than property in Pakistan. They are responsible for raising children, taking care of the household and in some cases supporting the entire family. They endure abusive relationships and are often treated as money making machines, forced into sex slavery, or forced into bonded labor.
It is common practice that parents wed their daughters at a very early age as the older they get, the more difficult it becomes to find a husband and the bigger the dowry will have to be.
Because girls are considered a financial burden, parents sell their daughters into domestic servitude, prostitution or forced marriages, and women are traded between tribal groups to settle disputes or as payment for debts.
We Buy Freedom
RAM Foundation helps free enslaved minorities from the brutal brick kilns of rural Pakistan, one person at a time.
We provide safe shelter
With your support, we provide temporary safe shelter in our CosmoVision Center to families who are freed from enslavement or to women and children who escaped abusive relationships. This gives them time to recover, be trained and get back on their feet. Learn more (create a link that goes back to the CosmoVision Center description under Who We Are)
WE EMPOWER WOMEN TO BE SELF-SUSTAINING
With your support, RAM Foundation is able to empower women by organizing vocational training so they become self-sustaining and can care for themselves and for their families.
We have chosen to focus on skills that are quickly marketable in rural settings. Our local female teachers train women in cosmetology, including hairdressing, and tailoring.
In our safe house, the CosmoVision Center, they have the opportunity to learn a trade as well as the basic business practices for setting up their own micro-businesses. After training, the women are able to earn a living from their newly acquired skills or sell their manufactured goods to the local community.
In time, we hope to be able to ship some of the products internationally.
we provide Legal aid
With your support, RAM Foundation provides free legal aid to the oppressed who have no financial resources and no assistance. Our most common cases include defending brick kiln workers, women sexually assaulted, people falsely accused of blasphemy, and minorities being taken advantage of and constantly harassed.
Our local board is mostly made up of young lawyers committed to the vision of RAM Foundation of Peace, Justice, and Equality. We provide this service from our office located outside the High Court in Lahore. Our staff also travel to meet victims directly at brick kilns and in rural areas.
Here is one of the cases we fought and won:
Fatima is a 55-year old woman working in a brick factory in
One of our lawyer reports:
“With the help of my colleagues, I took her to a hospital, but the authorities at the hospital refused to treat her and asked to report her to the police or take permission from the concerned Judicial Magistrate. I filed the proper paperwork and received permission from the Magistrate and only then was the medical treatment given to her. I paid her medical expenses, but Fatima did not want to file a complaint against her owner because she is very fearful of him. She is terrified at the idea she may lose the only shelter that her family has, which is owned by the factory master.”
Without legal representation, Fatima would not have received permission from the judge, and without his permission, she would not have been treated. Without proper medical attention, she would have died. Fatima is now back at work and despite her ordeal, she looks happier and her health condition has also improved. Financial support from donors to provide free legal aid saved Fatima’s life.
There are hundreds of such cases that our legal team has won and continues to fight every day.
WE PROVIDE MEDICAL AID
RAM Foundation provides medical aid and nutritious food and supplements, at least to those women who are either pregnant or have an infant child.
Mothers are the central pillar of a family unit. When they are sick, weak or dying, the whole family system collapses. This is the reason why RAM focuses especially on mothers with young children.
Unfortunately, young women do not get proper care while they are children, therefore most of them are physically very weak at the time they become mothers. As girls are married at a very early age, they are physically, mentally and emotionally inadequately equipped to handle their pregnancies. Without proper help and education, they are at great risk of dying while giving birth and their babies are born very weak or even in many cases, die in infancy.
Medical aid is provided directly at the brick kilns or at our CosmoVision Center.