Sewer Cleaners Wanted in Pakistan: Only Christians Need Apply.

Jamshed Eric working in a sewer in Karachi last year. He feels it is only a matter of time before he dies on the job.Credit...Zia ur-Rehman
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In Pakistan, descendants of lower-caste Hindus who converted to Christianity centuries ago still find themselves marginalized, relegated to dirty jobs and grim fates.

KARACHI, Pakistan — Before Jamshed Eric plunges deep below Karachi’s streets to clean out clogged sewers with his bare hands, he says a little prayer to Jesus to keep him safe.

The work is grueling, and he wears no mask or gloves to protect him from the stinking sludge and toxic plumes of gas that lurk deep underground.

“It is a difficult job,” Mr. Eric said. “In the gutter, I am often surrounded by swarms of cockroaches.”

After a long day, the stench of his work lingers even at home, a constant reminder of his place in life. “When I raise my hand to my mouth to eat, it smells of sewage,” he said.