Child Workers = The Global Child

by Radha Mistry January. 14, 2019 548 views

This will be another post where the pictures are not taken by me.

For people who may be concerned around how I use this platform, I did email the photoblog support staff originally, to see their thoughts around me using photo downloads to write about stuff. They were thankfully open to the idea. It is really a wonderful space to share so hopefully I am not breaking too many rules.

Photo download

Photo download

Above is the well know Orlando Bloom.

He partnered up with a photographer called Simon Lister through UNICEF to make a documentary film.

I just finished watching it; Tales by Light.

Anyone in this community would find the entire series very interesting.

I was particularly interested in the issue they were investigating though; Child Workers in Bangladesh.

Most of the pictures posted are in the article linked above, but the ones I could find I post here too.

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Photo download

We live in a bubble in the West.

We really really do.

Most of these children were not above eight.

These three were working in an Aluminium factory. They were breathing the dust fumes, and working around extremely dangerous machinery.

One of the boys rotated between one week Aluminium work, and the next week at a Balloon making factory.

The Balloon making factory was equally as lethal to their health.

Coloured toxic chemical dyes, and acidic mixtures, often burning their skin, daily routine sacrifices.

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Photo download

What saddened me whilst watching the programs was that I could not find human dignity in the situations.

There were other children carrying huge caseloads of weight on their necks and heads around shipping ports for basically richer, lazy people, who were okay with letting a seven year child try to break his spine so they did not have to carry their already too heavy suitcase. Who told them to pack so much?

Photo download = Children in the documentary were shown carrying much larger and assumably heavier loads

Photo download = Children in the documentary were shown carrying much larger and assumably heavier loads

And the worst part, is the children need this work. The richer, lazy people are truly helping them in a sense, because without these inhumane jobs, these people may be even worse off.

That is always the defending argument for why things should remain as they are.

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Photo download

This photo was poignant if you watch the documentary.

The children are laying down for the night, on a mattress on the floor, in a night shelter.

The boy who has his arms wrapped around the other, has no father. The father left. He works to support his mother who he loves very much. He is nine years old. He does not go to school. He is a child labourer stuck in the cycles of poverty.

Why do I get to sit on a sofa with a laptop and another face such hardships at an age no one should?

What decided I got this life and another so much more struggle? So much less childhood?

I cannot make peace with the way the world is.

I just cannot.

And often it is a waste of energy.

But I also know how powerful not giving people a voice is. Not looking.

Not feeling uncomfortable.

These things are what gives structural violence its power.

I do not know if a world utopia can be achieved.


But, while I live, I will always hope we can do better.

For real change to occur, the economic system needs to change.

Capitalism is simply not sustainable and will always produce inequality.

What could replace it is a very volatile conversation, but one which more and more people are having.

There is another very powerful documentary film called 'True Cost' if people have never come across it.

Photo download; the image behind the writing shows chemical runoff into drinking water from Leather factories in India. The people who drink the water end up with horrible skin diseases and deadly conditions

Photo download; the image behind the writing shows chemical runoff into drinking water from Leather factories in India. The people who drink the water end up with horrible skin diseases and deadly conditions

Here is a link to the trailer;

You have to watch the full movie to really be emotionally affected.

I'll warn you now, it was a changer for me.

I've had an internal conflict with the clothing industry ever since.

And now I learn something as simple as balloons also have a much darker history.

The truth is; the more you pay attention to this stuff, the more you realise how badly we have all been lied to.

Slavery still exists.

And its not just limited to Bangladesh.

Child Prostitution is growing in every developing country around the world with tourism and travel becoming easier and easier to richer global citizens.

Photo download

Photo download

I felt Orlando Bloom did okay in this documentary. The photographer I personally felt annoyed with at times, because he seemed to (at times) treat the children like objects in a project he was doing (which he was).

There was a scene where he was photographing a young girl, and he was speaking near her about her life and how she needs our help.

I'm not sure how much the girl could understand of the English, but I think children can pick up from the tone, the attitude, and so on, that there was an element of pity there.

It made me angry because that, does not help or benefit them.

We must be careful as to why we do what we do.

However, somebody does need to go into these areas, and bring the issues into the open.

And so, I support the work, I would just like to see more sensitivity to the issues and to human feelings within the International photography community.

Photo download

Photo download

There was another deeply tragic scene in the documentary. The picture above, although in Bangladesh, is not from the documentary footage.

A group of 5 or 6 (maybe 9 or 10 years of age) Bangladeshi children were spending time searching through rubbish dumps, barefoot, in toxic waste, to salvage scraps they could sell on to recycling centres.

That was their living.

At one point, the kids started playing.

Like children do.

They started shoving each other, play fighting, and falling over in the rubbish.

It was a beautiful scene.

Very nice to see they found moments of happiness and real deep friendships despite their surroundings.

I often find those people have something more precious than us sometimes with all our material wealth.

If no one was in poverty anymore, would we all loose that?

That depth of connection? There is only so much we can bond in our separate houses, hiding behind separate ego structures.

These people are stripped bare.

Their connections go deeper; just look at that boy hugging the other above. Like they would give their lives for each other.

I digress.

There will be a way to maintain deep connections without the need for suffering in order for that to happen.

I will write about Plastic pollution in another post because it requires a post in itself.

Photo download

Photo download

As much as other topics make better dinner conversation, we have to start acknowledging we are part of these issues, whether we like it or not.

The industries forced upon us, with clever marketing...... hide the truth....

Of what it really costs, to live our lives the way we do.

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There are 9 comments , add yours!
Pete Fitzgetald 2 years ago

Thank you for relating their story, it remains an important topic. well done.

2 years ago Edited
Radha Mistry Replied to Pete Fitzgetald 2 years ago

thanks for sharing your appreciation, it is very encouraging to me to find that others are also concerned. X

2 years ago Edited
Antonio Gil 2 years ago

I saw children working in brick factories in India too.

2 years ago Edited
Radha Mistry Replied to Antonio Gil 2 years ago

that must have been hard to see. These things need exposing as a first step. Not to fill us with guilt, most of us never knew, and would wish it another way. But so we can face and deal with the reality that will catch us up sooner or later. Thanks as always Antonio X

2 years ago Edited
Antonio Gil Replied to Radha Mistry 2 years ago

I think the world is awakening to that reality.

2 years ago Edited
Can G 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue and also the pointers to the documentary. A sad but true reality, our western wealth is heavily dependent upon exploiting the not so fortunate majority of this world's population.

Everyone has to survive, and for those poor people - especially the children - this seems to be their only chance, exploited to the extreme limit of humanity. It's almost like we're feeding on them, isn't it? And it doesn't stop beyond the textile industry.

2 years ago Edited
Radha Mistry Replied to Can G 2 years ago

Hello Can, thank you for your comment. I find much comfort in discovering that I am not alone with my concerns, that others also feel the same way. It is interesting what you write - the analogy of 'feeding of them'. Like almost a hidden form of Cannibalism. Your depiction whilst brutal, is very accurate. I wish to write about these issues more in the future. Please continue to seek others in your life that can fill you with the good in humanity, and continue to also learn (do not fear the dark), for in understanding it, you can bring hope into the world. X

2 years ago Edited
Ram Ya 2 years ago

Thank you so much for telling their stories, Radha!

2 years ago Edited
Radha Mistry Replied to Ram Ya 2 years ago

Thank you for supporting the post Ram, means a lot X

2 years ago Edited