IQBAL MASHIH  2
Twelve-year-old Pakistani, Iqbal Mashih, was awarded the "Youth in Action" award presented by Reebok's human rights division. Iqbal shocked many of the children his age when he spoke in detail of his experiences as a factory worker weaving carpets. For six years he was chained to a loom, force to work sixteen-hour days, beginning at four o'clock in the morning, seven days a week. His desperately poor parents sold him to bondage for about $12 dollars to the carpet factory owner. Iqbal had the body half the size of the other students; he was very malnourished due to the years of servitude under poor living conditions. Iqbal and the other children who worked in the carpet factory were punished in brutal and inhumane ways. He recalled a young boy's fingers being placed in boiling oil and another worker being hung upside down.
Pakistan, the Abolition of Bonded Labor Act in 1992, made child labor
illegal. However, due to the influence of successful industrialists
and corrupt officials, enforcing the law to help protect the children
became almost impossible. After the law that makes child labor illegal,
Iqbal ran away and attended a rally with the Bonded Labour Liberation
Front. The movement against the exploitation of children grew as he
helped draw together about 2,000 children.
Sources: Gerwin, 1994