Christian 'slave' in Pakistan freed after ransom paid

ReutersBrick kiln workers are at risk in Pakistan

It's reported that a Christian brick kiln worker has been freed from a life of slavery and torture after a British organization agreed to pay a ransom to free him.

The British Pakistani Christian Association says that Salim Masih was released after it intervened in the case. Masih said he had been tortured by the brick kiln owner because he tried to leave his work. There was also a dispute over a debt.

Slavery is illegal in Pakistan, but discrimination against Christians in commonplace and authorities have a patchy track record in protecting religious minorities.

The BCPA says it paid a ransom to the man responsible for holding Masih and that he is now in a safe house, although details on where in the country this took place are unclear.

A press statement said, 'Though British Pakistani Christian Association is loathe to pay brick kiln owners for the emancipation of slaves which a practice which perpetuates despite being outlawed, we realised we had no option in this instance if we were to save the life of Salim. '

Masih himself is quoted as saying, 'When the men discovered an NGO had got involved the violence increased and I thought I would be killed. But somehow God saved my life I owe Him everything.'