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TOPIC: Humans of New York photographer covers Pakistan

Humans of New York photographer covers Pakistan 19 Sep 2015 16:18 #7649

  • ari.u.
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Brandon Stanton, the man behind the camera for the Humans Of New York page on facebook, went to Pakistan for the month of August and came back with very haunting images. Mr. Stanton used his HONY popularity to bring attention to other international events more people should know about. In Pakistan, he discovered a story that is very disturbing and most people are unaware of it.
He made a statement- "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."

Brandon met with a woman named Syeda Ghulam Fatima, who is an advocate against what is known as bonded labor. Bonded labor is best defined as a persons pledge to work or provide any form of labor for a repayment for a debt or any other obligations that they owe. Syeda Ghulam Fatima helped to release more than 80,000 bonded laborers in Pakistan from all provinces since her engagement, and trained more than 600 women in alternative skills for poverty reduction. Fatima was threatened, attacked, and berated for her activism. One of the most disturbing facets of bonded labor is many of the laborers are children. When older laborers do not live long enough to repay their debts, it will carry on to their children and other family members, with the addition of interest. So you will see many young people who put in many work hours in return for extremely small loans.

However, apart from the grim basis of this story, a fantastic response was made. Brandon Stanton set up Indiegogo campaign to raise $100,000 for Fatima's organization., the Bonded Labour Liberation Front. Which is estimated to have over 4 million Pakistani laborers. Stanton posted this story onto his HONY facebook page where it reached tens of millions of people worldwide. After only a few days, $2.1 million poured in. Fatima responded back saying "Thank you to everyone who has opened their hearts and donated to our cause," "I struggle to find the words, I don't think I have the words to tell you how grateful we are. ..."
It is truly an uplifting story on a topic that I have never heard about until it was brought up on an extremely well known facebook page. I find it socially unjust that stories like Fatima's is not heard of much. Great on Brandon Stanton to take matters into his own hands and publish this story through his hard work and intuition.

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