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These Humans Of New York Photos Helped To Free Slaves In Pakistan

Making a difference one photo at a time.

Posted on August 19, 2015, at 12:13 p.m. ET

Humans of New York's Brandon Stanton just wrapped up an epic photography tour of Pakistan.

He shared some amazing stories, as well as all some incredibly beautiful pictures.

But his trip has also made a difference in the lives of over an estimated one million Pakistanis who are trapped in a form of modern day slavery, paying off insurmountable loan debts by toiling in brick kilns in rural areas.

"Over 20,000 brick kilns operate in Pakistan, supported by millions of workers, and the system is largely underpinned by an extremely close cousin of slavery—bonded labor," Stanton wrote on Instagram.

"If the laborer dies, the debt is passed on to his or her children. The practice is illegal. But due to the extreme power and wealth of brick kiln owners, the law is often unenforced in rural areas," he said.


He also introduced his 3.7 million Instagram followers and 14.5 million Facebook fans to Syeda Ghulam Fatima, a "modern day Harriet Tubman" who leads Bonded Labour Liberation Front, a group dedicated to ending the practice.

"She has been shot, electrocuted, and beaten numerous times for her activism," he wrote. "Quite literally, she places herself between the workers and their owners."

Before being profiled by HONY, Fatima's group had such little funds she feared she would no longer be able to pay for her own medical expenses.

But Stanton announced Monday that his followers had helped raise more than $2 million in just three days to help Fatima and her group in Pakistan, where he said a dollar has roughly five times the purchasing power as it does in the U.S.

"This is an absolutely transformational amount of money," Stanton said.

Fatima is now planning to meet with her board to plan a major expansion of the BLLF, so it can continue to help free more Pakistanis.

"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," she said.

"This is a big step for labourers that this has received so much attention, and that their voices have reached a global stage and we are being heard," she said.

"With this we hope to end bonded labour in Pakistan."