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I have shot these photos on assignment for OPEN Magazine in November 2012. Five women from Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district had earlier approached the State Human Rights Commission seeking permission to sell their kidneys, in a bid to raise the blood money needed to have their husbands released from a prison in the middle-east.  The husbands, who were not paid wages for many months by their employers in the middle-east, had resorted to a burglary along with another Indian and four Pakistanis and killed a Nepalese security guard in the process.

Karimnagar, along with East and West Godavari districts, has the highest number of semi-skilled and unskilled labourers migrating to the middle-east from the state. Discussion about working conditions and exploitation of labour in the middle-east has been going on for quite some time in the Telugu media and when the news of the women approaching SHRC came out, it sent shockwaves across the state.

Shivarathri Rena with her daughter Saritha.

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