A photographer’s haunting images of Pakistanis trapped in forced labor has triggered an outpouring of donations to help end the illegal practice.
The photographer, Brandon Stanton, usually chronicles everyday New Yorkers on the popular blog Humans of New York. This month, however, he visited Pakistan and posted images and the stories of the people he encountered there — including Syeda Ghulam Fatima, a campaigner against what’s known as bonded labor.
“Throughout rural Pakistan, illiterate and desperate laborers are tricked into accepting small loans in exchange for agreeing to work at brick kilns for a small period of time,” Stanton wrote in one of a series of posts dedicated to the exploitation.
“But due to predatory terms, their debt balloons, growing larger as time goes on, with no possibility of repayment, until these laborers are condemned to work for the rest of their lives for no compensation,” he wrote. “If the laborer dies, the debt is passed on to his or her children.”
There are many different causes in the world that people may follow or work earnestly for; religious, ethnic or ideological. Our cause is our country, our Nation. In today’s troubled times, we choose to work for a cause much greater in it’s reach and impact, with greater ambitions than something petty which limits us to our own small world.
Helping out people nearby is of great nobility too and will give one a peaceful state of mind. But in today’s globalised and image-conscious world, we need something that stabilizes our footing internationally and gives us strength on a people to people level, regardless of what the rulers/system may want their people to think.
One such cause is inspired by “Humans of New York”and is named “Humans of Pakistan”, showing the world that we Pakistanis are not violent and aggressive, we do not lack average human intelligence, nor have we lost insight regarding the world or our own lives. Contrary to that, we are like all other people and have been wrongly stereotyped. This is just a small attempt towards a greater meaningful cause from our behalf.
For we are a nation that may certainly fail, but does not give up that easily.