Humans of New York is the best Facebook there is. I’m fairly certain that everyone I know is already following it; but if you’re not you need to be. Started by Brandon Stanton , he has spent his time photographing and sharing the stories of everyday New Yorkers ; and has also taken trips around the world. The stories range from humorous or uplifting, to sad, and even absolutely heart breaking. Brandon recently went to Pakistan and shared with us the stories of many Pakistani people, to show us the good in a country that is often dismissed as nothing more than a hotbed of evil and terrorism. The stories that affected me most though were those of the brick kiln “ workers .”
I will post links to the personal stories that Brandon has shared, but I wanted to give some of the facts behind the brick kiln slavery practice first, for many who have no idea this is happening. I didn’t know it was going on until Brandon shared the stories.
Apparently, how many people get bonded to slavery is they are desperate. Often a family member is sick and they can’t afford treatment, but there are a range of reasons why these people go to these kiln owners for a small loan. They accept the loan and agree to work for free until the debt is paid. What happens though, is the debt is never paid. When the person who asked for the loan goes to the kiln owner to ask for their release as the debt was paid off, they find there have been ridiculous charges added to the original debt; doubling, tripling, quadrupling what they originally owed. The debtor is then forced back to the kilns to continue working off a debt that will never be paid, for risk of losing their lives or harm coming to their families.
According to an article from Al Jazeera , “ an estimated two million children also work for up to 14 hours a day, six days a week in brickmaking kilns, lacking basic rights and access to social security.” NBC News reports that about four million Pakistani people are bonded into this system of forced labor. Brandon through his efforts with Humans of New York managed to raise $2 million dollars for a Pakistani organization called, the Bonded Labour Liberation Front , so the founder, a woman named Fatima , could use to money to help these humans of Pakistan be released from this slavery.
No words that I can write would ever describe the situation the way that the stories from the enslaved themselves could, so I just want to share their photos and stories. I also want to share the link to the Bonded Labour Liberation Front’s website so that we can all donate more to help these people. We all can only hope that the attention that has been brought to this cause by Brandon’s efforts will result in United Nations action being taken to end this forced labor. Here is the link to the BLLF website . Now a few of the stories. The rest can be found on Humans of New York’s Facebook page: