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I.M.O.W. Team

Stone Women

Day Laborers in Bangladesh

Photographer Khaled Hasan depicts a stone mining community in Jaflong, Bangladesh, where the unregulated industry is harming the environment and leading to exploitative conditions for workers.

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Stone mining is one of the leading industries for the small community in Jaflong in eastern Bangladesh. During the monsoon season, the river currents wash down precious rocks and pebbles from India into the Jaflong area. At dawn every day, more than a hundred little boats with laborers enter the Piyain River, buckets and spades in hand, collecting stones that will be ground up and sold to create concrete.

But the industry is incredibly harmful to both the workers and the environment. Stone mining creates air pollution and noise pollution, destroys the landscape, and exploits labourers. Stone miners work incredibly hard, and the industry is entirely unregulated: labourers receive no legal or health benefits, and the stone crushing machines create huge, hazardous clouds of dust.  More than 2,000 women work the stone mines, and they receive less pay per hour than the male workers. Many women raise their families near the stone mines and struggle to make ends meet and provide for their children with their low daily wages.

In this series of images, I wanted to represent the hassles, hard work, and happy moments of this marginalized part of society.

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