Stunning photos of Child Labor in Bangladesh (pics)

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Zoriah’s Note: The Guest Photographer/Photojournalist section of is designed to showcase the most important work of some of the world’s most talented shooters.

As the first guest contributor to, I would like to welcome G.M.B. Akash. He has been a friend for several years, is a wonderful person and continually produces some of the most poignant and stunning works of photojournalism in the industry. He is a master of his craft and has won more industry awards than just about anyone. His work not only highlights his technical skills but his humanitarian heart and will be a wonderful addition to this site. In between his posts on this blog I urge all of you to explore his website at and enjoy his extraordinary reportage. What follows are the words and images of G.M.B. Akash.]

To abolish child labour you have to make it visible.

For the last four years I have been working on child labor in Bangladesh.

Child labor has been forbidden in Bangladesh since 1992. In December 2005 I visited a garment factory in Narayanganj, which is the center of the garment industry in Bangladesh. I took a picture of the owner beating a 12-year-old boy because he had been too slow sewing t-shirts.

According to the U.N. Children’s Fund report, more than 6.3 million children under 14 are working in Bangladesh. Many of them work under very poor conditions; some of them even risk their life. Factory owners pay them about 400 to 700 taka (10 USD) a month, while an adult worker earns up to 5,000 taka per month.

It is widely known, yet for a long time nobody seemed to mind. With my work I want to confront the people with the problem of child labor and motivate the people who begin to think about it — in Bangladesh where children are employed and in the rich countries of the Western world where products are sold that have been produced by children.

My intention is not only to show the children at work as victims of bad bosses exploiting them, but I want to show the complexity of the situation: The parents who send their little boy to work in a factory because they are poor; the child who has to work to earn a living for the family; the boss of the factory who is being pushed by big garment companies to produce for less money; and the Western consumers as clients who buy cheap clothes.

I think it is impossible to abolish child labor completely in Bangladesh in a very short time, but I am sure it is possible to improve the working conditions for the children and to bring more from factory work into the schools.


Jainal works in silver cooking pot factory. He is 11 years old. He has been working in this factory for three years. His work starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. For his work he gets 700 taka (10 USD) for a month. His parents are so poor that they can not afford to send him to school. According to the factory owner, the parents do not care for their children; they send their kids to work for money and allegedly don’t feel sorry for these small kids. Dhaka 2008


A young laborer making metal components at a factory. Dhaka.Bangladesh


13-year-old Liyakot Ali works in a silver cooking pot factory in Old Dhaka. The children work 10 hour days in hazardous conditions, for a weekly wage of 200 taka (3 USD). Dhaka. Bangladesh. June 2008


child on the side of the road attempts to sell roses to passing commuters in cars and buses. Dhaka.

6a00e55188bf7a88340115701985df970b-800wi7-year-old Jasmine collects rubbish from a steaming rubbish heap on a cold winter morning. She earns money to support her family by scavenging for items on the Kajla rubbish dump. It is one of three landfill sites in a city of 12 million people. Around 5,000 tons of garbage are dumped here each day and more than 1,000 people work among the rubbish, sorting through the waste and collecting items to sell to retailers for recycling.


Children at a brick factory in Fatullah. For each 1,000 bricks they carry, they earn the equivalent of 0.9 USD.


A young girl working in a brick crushing factory in Dhaka.


Children at a brick factory in Fatullah. For each 1,000 bricks they carry, they earn the equivalent of 0.9 USD.


Hands of 8-year-old Munna while working in a rickshaw parts making factory. He works 10 hours a day and gets 8 USD for a month. Dhaka 2007.


Ten-year-old Shaifur working in a door lock factory in Old Dhaka. Unlike his colleague, Shaifur works without a mask.


Eight-year-old Munna works in a rickshaw factory. He earns about 500 taka (7 USD) a month, working 10 hours a day. When the production often stops due to lack of electricity, he has time to play. Dhaka 2007


Children are compelled to work for long working hours with inadequate or no rest period. Moreover, they are paid with minimum wages and enjoy no job security. Many people prefer to employ young boys to maximize services for those minimum wages. Dhaka 2006.


Thirteen-year-old Islam works in a silver cooking pot factory. He has been working at the factory for the last two years, in hazardous conditions, where it is common practice for the factory owners to take on children as unpaid apprentices, only providing them with two meals a day.


17.5 percent of children in the aged 5–15 are engaged in economic activities. Many of these children are engaged in various hazardous occupations in manufacturing factories. Dhaka 2006.


Eight-year-old Razu works in a rickshaw factory. He earns about 500 taka (7 USD) a month, working 10 hours a day. When the production often stops due to lack of electricity, he has time to play.


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