Mohmen left his village at 13 and quickly found work stacking animal skins in one of Karachi’s many tanneries. He wasn’t allowed to stand by the window when the fumes overtook him. Now, at 17, he’s still doing the same job.
His boss says Mohmen’s a good kid – smart, hard-working, easy to get along with. But with no education, he’s gone about as far as he can go.
Mohmen sends almost all of his money home. Sometimes, he says, he feels caught in a loop: the longer he works, the deeper his debt; the older he gets, the more his parents depend on his income. But sometimes he finds himself smiling.
“I don’t want to smile,” he says, “but it’s all I can do.”