17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel

There are 20,000 brick kilns across the country, about 4.5 million people are living in slavery conditions (bonded labor), while many of these workers are young children. They work in isolated areas, shielded from the eyes of society and hidden from the protection of the constitution. People inherit a debt or are forced to work in slave-like conditions to pay off a loan, sometimes as low as $200. It can be made to look like an employment agreement, but one where the worker starts with a debt to repay, only to find that repayment of the loan is impossible. For 1,000 bricks per day the family is paid with $5, spending all day outdoors trying to make their target number of bricks. They live on the desolate sites in crumbling fly-blown cattle sheds, are usually illiterate, receive no reliable or independent verification of how much they owe, and may be forced to stay on the brick kilns into a second or third generation, as they have no way of knowing if or when their debt has been repaid.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 03.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2019
Photo Location: LAHORE, PAKISTAN, Pakistan
Camera: ILCE-7M3
Copyright: © Dimitra Stasinopoulou