Iqbal Masih became a debt slave in a carpet factory in Pakistan when he was a child. Five years later he was set free. He gave other children the courage to leave their owners.
Iqbal was threatened by the carpet factory owners and was murdered on 16 April 1995. He is a symbol for the struggle against child labour and in 2000, he received the first World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child posthumously (after his death).
Iqbal was around five when he started working in the carpet factory. He worked from early morning until evening and was often treated badly. When his mother Anayat needs money for an operation, she took out a loan from a carpet factory owner. The loan, or ‘peshgi’, was in Iqbal’s name. That means that Iqbal owes Ghullah the 5000 rupees (ca 600 US dollars) that his mother’s operation cost. Now Iqbal was a debt slave and the factory owner was in charge of his life. > Read the whole story about Iqbal’s life and death here.
Learn more about Iqbal in the Globe Magazine (2009).
Text: Magnus Bergmar