Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Afghan boys and girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, forced marriage to settle debts or disputes, forced begging, as well as forced labour or debt bondage in brick kilns, carpet-making factories, and domestic service. Afghan children are also trafficked to Iran and Pakistan for forced labour, particularly in Pakistan’s carpet factories, and forced marriage.
Aziz began weaving carpets in his home at the age of 6 years old. He and his 11 siblings are the breadwinners of their family and though they go to school, they must work before and after, and work full days during the winter holidays. Aziz has been injured several times and has developed a chronic cough due to his work.
I cough, and my three sisters cough. We don’t get medicine for it. When I breathe, the particles of yarn stick to my throat, then I get a cough. I have been coughing for about six years. The hook-blade with which we work has also injured my sisters. My uncle’s son in Kabul was young – maybe he was 7 – and working as an apprentice in Kabul when he hurt his eye. He went to the doctor who bandaged it.
My hands have been cut many times, but I haven’t hurt my eyes yet. I cut my finger with the hook-blade when working, but it has healed.
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch