Film exposes child slavery

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The Independent Online
CHILDREN as young as five are being employed as slave labourers in sweatshops throughout Pakistan, according to filmed evidence to be presented today to the European Union, writes Katherine Butler in Brussels.

The film, made as part of an investigation conducted by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, shows small children enslaved with their parents in brickmaking factories near Islamabad. Some of the families had been "sold" to the kiln by a former employer.

Ten-year-old boys who have worked in the kilns for five years appear in the film. One boy had no idea how old he was, having worked there since infancy. Another man said he would die a slave - he had been working in the kilns as a bonded labourer for 50 years.

The findings were released yesterday as EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, backed demands by trade unions for the immediate suspension of trade concessions to Pakistan worth more than pounds 2bn annually.