In India, more than 25 million people work in the country’s 100,000 brick kilns. The last decade has been marked by a considerable expansion of the real estate sector and the high demand for bricks for construction cannot be met without the use of illiterate and very cheap labor. Even if developers are using more and more modern materials (concrete, steel, glass), the Indian middle class prefers to build with red clay bricks which still represent 80% of the construction market.
Faced with such pressure, working conditions are more than deplorable and many NGOs denounce situations of almost slavery. It is not uncommon for entire families, including children, to be forced to work for poverty wages, when there is one! The salary only takes into account the husband’s performance, while half of the workforce is made up of women. All of them stay in miserable huts made with bricks that they have made themselves and sometimes even bought from the owner!