Santa
A striking image captured by Bangladeshi photographer GMB Akash shows a 10-year-old girl chained by her father Facebook/GMB Akash via Storyful

A heartbreaking photograph that is going viral has revealed a Bangladeshi father's desperate attempts to keep his 10-year-old daughter off drugs.

The striking image captured by a Bangladeshi photographer, GMB Akash, shows the girl, Santa, chained by her father, Kamal Hossin, who said his act was to stop her from using drugs.

Santa, who lives with her father in a tiny house in the capital city of Dhaka, is thought to have been kept confined with an iron chain around her ankle for about 10 days now.

The 40-year-old father told Akash that he had no option but to keep her chained so that she does not run away from the house to join drug addicts in the streets of Dhaka.

"I am always terrified of losing her," Hossin said.

The story of the helpless father was shared in a Facebook post on 30 August by Akash, who – much like the famous Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton – often shares heart-touching accounts of people he interviews and photographs.

"I feel like I am dying when I attach this chain to my daughter's leg. My eyes get drizzly every time I put this iron lock on her. But a poor father like me has no other choice to protect his innocent daughter, who does not even have a mother to shield her!" Akash cited Hossin as saying.

The father, a cobbler, recalled how Santa went missing for eight days until he found her with a few drug addicts sniffing glue that he uses to repair shoes.

"The last time she disappeared for eight nights. I was looking for her everywhere from morning until late at night. I went to train stations, parks, and markets; looking in all places. But she was nowhere," the father said.

"After eight nights of meticulously and desperately looking for her, I found her at the Farm Gate Foot over Bridge with other street drug addict girls and prostitutes. She was sniffing glue that I use for repairing shoes," he added.

Santa has apparently disappeared from her house several times in the last eight months.

According to her father, she became addicted to drugs as a seven-year-old following her mother's death three years ago.

He said he has no money to take his daughter to a doctor for rehabilitation, and that the only way he can afford to protect his daughter is by keeping her chained her at home.

"After her mother passed away, I could not take care of my children properly and my only daughter mixed with other street children and got addicted to drugs," Hossin said.

The widely shared story has created a huge outcry on social media, with a few offering to help Santa fight her drug addiction.