After becoming a slave at the age of 4, a Pakistani Christian receives a posthumous Prize: Discover his story

" I'm sad. I wanted Iqbal to receive the award. It is an honor for the Christian nation. I thank the President for remembering my brother's martyrdom. »

Iqbal Masih was only 4 years old when his father sold him into slavery in a carpet factory in Pakistan to settle a debt of 3 euros contracted to finance the marriage of his older brother.

At the age of 10, he managed to escape and campaigned against the exploitation of children. Joining the Bonded Labor Liberation Front, which won his release in 1992, he helped secure the release of around 3 other children.

But at the age of 12, while visiting his parents on Easter Sunday, Iqbal was murdered.

Almost 30 years after his death, President Arif Alvi presented him with the Sitara-e-Shujaat award for bravery. It was his older brother, Patras Masih, who received the award.

" I'm sad. I wanted Iqbal to receive the award. It is an honor for the Christian nation. I thank the President for remembering my brother's martyrdom. »

If we can rejoice in such recognition for the action of Iqbal Masih, we must recall, as Albert David, member of the Pakistani National Commission for Minorities, does withUCA News, that the exploitation of children is still a reality in Pakistan.

“Unfortunately, our country is faced with the problem of laws that are not enforced. It is as if the agencies turn a blind eye to such atrocities. »

According to US Department of Labor, “Children in Pakistan are subjected to the worst forms of child labour, including commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic labour”. Among the aggravating risk factors are the fact of belonging to a religious minority, caste status and gender.

UNICEF estimates that 160 million children are currently slaves in the world.

MC

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