Born in Slavery - SM Kakon
Photo Story People Photography Street Photography
December 13, 2018

‘It’s been two years; I am learning how to work. In return I get food’ – Rahat (8), explains his promising job. The UN estimates that 168 million children are being put to work globally. According to UNICEF, more than 7.4 million children are engaged in economic activity in Bangladesh.  


Many of them work in extreme circumstances; some even risk their lives. For a shift of up to 12-16 hours, most earn less than $3 a day - many receive half of that. Many children are often physically ruined as a result of working bare hands. Some of the children are as young as 5 years old and many work without any protective clothing.


They are making things which are going to local and international markets. But there is no inspection from the sides of consumers to ensure that there are no human rights violations. Children are working in textile factories, shipyard, brickfields, tanneries, toy factories, aluminum factories; they are working like slave everywhere. Often times their produced products has global reach. The reason behind child labour is poverty, disasters or environmental catastrophes. I am bound to document the terrible circumstances of child labor in a photographic series ‘Born to slavery’.


I started documenting these working children’s lives 10 years ago. Documenting the core part of the suffering is my initial attempt. The final consumers of the products that children are making have minimum idea that their purchase may have a smidgen of children’s pain somewhere in it. These photos compel the viewer to think if they have are feeding child labour. A poor child’s hope for a normal life is as tenuous as long as the corrupt trade of child labour continues.  



SM Kakon is an independent Photojournalist and Photography Mentor based in Bangladesh. He primarily produced long term projects and his images are a testament to the broader relationships he invested in. His photographs depict the reality of underprivileged people. His photos never attempted to mask the harsh realities these individuals faced daily. He had the access to some of the most intimate parts of vulnerable people’s life and the reason behind such access is his honest approach and the ability of truth telling. At the end of his every endeavor, he always found “there is a real strong sense of hope” among his subjects, to capture that hope, he moves further. 

Photo Story People Photography Street Photography
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