Akash beat more than 3,000 entries to the title and the $2,500 cash prize.
His winning image, called ‘Angels in hell’, centres on children working in factories in Bangladesh.
‘Down in these deadly factories, the word “childhood” disappears as early as the age of five,’ said Akash.
‘Their silent cries echo from wall to wall in their hell which is considered a blessed place for them because they can earn bread.
‘Their compact factory workstations among the fiery furnaces or deafening sewing machines, or even dusty brick-making fields, are places where they are growing up independently.’
Category winners were named as Malou Reedorf from Italy; Johannes Heuckeroth (Germany); Sophie Gamand (United States); Thomas Morel from Norway; and Richard Humphries from Malaysia.
Akash added: ‘The best part about being a photographer is that I’m able to articulate the experiences of the voiceless and bring their identities to the forefront, which gives meaning and purpose to my own life.’
At the launch of the competition, organisers said: ‘Our idea is to create new opportunities to present the most valuable work to audiences all over the world.
‘To build a place where photographers can show different points of view and thrive through competition.’
The judging panel was made up of 24 industry professionals, including renowned photographers, gallery owners, editors and publishers.
To view the best entries visit the awards’ website.
All photos: GMB Akash