Since the first photograph was taken 186 years ago, it’s estimated that more than 3.5 trillion photos have been taken around the world. These days, everyone has a camera phone they can use to snap a quick pic to post on their social media sites. But some photographers, like Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York (HONY), have been trying to use their photography skills for a greater purpose.
Stanton, known for his chronicles of colorful characters on his Humans of New York blog, has spent the month of August taking a trip to Pakistan. While there, Stanton has replaced his daily posts, which usually feature New Yorkers, with photographs of the people he has encountered there.
This includes Syeda Ghulam Fatima, the founder of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front in Pakistan. Fatima’s group fights against the unjust working conditions of bonded labor at brick kilns.
”Throughout rural Pakistan, illiterate and desperate laborers are tricked into accepting small loans in exchange for agreeing to work at brick kilns,” Staton wrote on the HONY page. “But due to predatory terms, their debt balloons, growing larger as time goes on.”
The laborers, unable to keep up with the demands of their loans, end up working for the rest of their lives with no compensation. The working conditions of these brick kilns are harsh, and often lack modern conveniences such as running water. If a laborer dies, their debt falls on the shoulders of their children.
NBC News reports that since the pictures from Pakistan have gone up, Stanton has seen an overwhelming amount of support from his followers. Stanton originally set up a month-long Indiegogo campaign, aiming to raise $100,000 for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. Four days after the campaign was started, over $2.1 million was raised.
In response to the overwhelming support, Fatima said, “This is a big step for laborers that this has received so much attention, and that their voices have reached a global stage and we are being hear. With this, we hope to end bonded labor in Pakistan. “