Exposing human trafficking racket through documentary photography

It is not a surprise that Pakistan is a source and passage for men, women and children subjected to trafficking for forced labour and prostitution. Children are also vended, lent, or abducted to work in structured, criminal begging rings, home servitude and even in prostitution. Felonious and illegal labour agents even charge fortune from family members in return of promises of decent work for their children, who are later exploited and subjected to bonded labour.

UbaidurRehman, recently graduated as ‘Documentary Photographer’ and has been working on human trafficking Donkey (a slang for illegal border crossing in South Asia) issue in Pakistan since last year. Ubaid started work on this issue when he found out about the few Pakistanis who got kidnapped in Turkey for ransom. He interviewed the families of those victims and got to know about horrible truths, which increased his interest to further indulge in the matters.

Ubaid visited many places in Gujrat, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi district to know the realty. As a documentary photographer, Ubaid had interviewed many families who lost their loved ones in this ordeal, many of which are still missing in Europe, many lost in the sea. It is estimated that on daily basis, more than two hundred people cross the border for Europe, Iran and turkey illegally. Ubaid reports that every such person pays €8,000 to reach Europe. Talking to the scribe, Ubaid said, “As a documentary photographer, I believe the truth must be discovered, not constructed!”

Progressing in his field of interest, the photographer displayed his work at Beaconhouse National University (BNU) and after a successful show, Ubaid visited the actual Donkey route from Pakistan to Turkey, and then went on to Europe by road. Ubaid tells that he spent 45 days there and investigated the kidnapping cases in Hungary and near the Serbian border. He found that almost a hundred Pakistanis are living as refugees in the forests of the region. They had crossed the border for the Schengen states but are living in terrible conditions in the Sabotika city of Serbia. However, thankfully, many NGOs are providing the food and other basic life needs to them.

Unfortunately, Ubaid has started to receive threat calls from the human trafficking mafias who are involved in this heinous crime as they do not want him to upset the shield of their business. However, keeping up with courage, Ubaid has planned to display the actual stories of these Pakistanis in the coming months, to spread awareness and educate others who want to travel illegally anywhere in the world. His sole purpose is to warn the people about the dangers of such illegal and excruciating activity.

The author is a high-school teacher, considerate mentor and a passionate learner. She pinpoints fashion trends and loves writing about all the chic people in the glossy industry as well as about the drifts in the fast-paced fashion industry.

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