Samar Minallah Khan
Global Leadership Awards
In parts of Pakistan, girls are given away as compensation to settle disputes or to pay for crimes committed by men in their family or tribe. The family receiving the girl can make her a child bride, enslaving her for the rest of her life. Swara, as this practice is known, occurred legally in parts of Pakistan for generations—until one woman, Samar Minallah Khan, used a camera to catalyze change.
In 2003, Samar, a Pakistani Pashtun filmmaker and anthropologist, created a documentary on swara. Her goal was to raise awareness of the horrific custom and mobilize policymakers to abolish it. Thanks in part to Samar’s campaign, swara was made illegal in Pakistan in 2004. Dozens of girls were rescu