Female labourers in Pakistan are demanding improved rights on brick-making kilns across the country. It is thought that thousands of women workers are exploited by their employers because they often do not possess a national identity card.

This can lead to them virtually having no rights, and women are often not paid directly. Male family members can pick up their wages, but they have no obligation to hand them over.

On 7 March, female kiln workers took to the streets of Lahore to demand equal pay and better conditions. They marched through the capital chanting: "Give us our rights, now, here".

Muqabaran Bibi, 60, works on her hands and knees each day, moulding bricks. "All women work, young and old alike. They can only survive if they work.

"We have to get back to work soon after giving birth to a baby, because we have no other option. We are compelled to work whether we are ill, or weak, or even if we are in great pain. We are not doing this out of choice," she said.

Bibi added, "We toil the whole day long to prepare as many bricks as possible. I am too old to work. My legs ache; my arms are sore, but I have to keep on working with the help of (painkillers) injections, day after day".

Workers can often work six days a week, for less than £6.30 ($9.10) per 1,000 bricks. Brick-making kilns often keep their workers in bondage, meaning that employees pay off a small loan by working, sometimes for no wages and for an unspecified period.

"We are so helpless that we cannot do anything. We neither have a home, nor any land. The kiln owners imprison us at night, they lock us up inside. At 2 am, they wake us up to start work," said mother-of-six Rani Mai.

It is estimated around two million people are trapped in bonded work in Pakistan.