Skip to main content

Before Their Time: The World of Child Labor

Before Their Time: The World of Child Labor

ISBN: 978-1-593-72024-7

*Norton agency titles

160 pages

Select type: Hardcover

Product not available for purchase


Although numerous international treaties and organizations work tirelessly to improve conditions for children, there are still 320 million children under the age of sixteen working around the world -- 150 million of those in the most harmful industries, such as prostitution and forced military service. This is their story, in words and photographs.

Physician and photographer David L. Parker takes us beyond the headlines and into the textile factories, stone quarries, and garbage dumps where children are forced -- by unscrupulous adults or by lack of any other economic opportunity -- into the desperate cycle of child labor. His haunting and sensitive portrayal of these children preserves their dignity and humanity while exposing their often tragic circumstances.

The hazards of harsh working conditions are visited exponentially on still-growing bodies and minds, whether they are cleaning elephant stables in India, picking cotton in Turkey, or extracting gold from Nicaraguan mines. Mercury used in mining causes brain damage; stone dust destroys young lungs; circus contortions cause serious muscular harm. But even beyond the disastrous physical consequences of child labor, simply having to work means that children are deprived of the education, nurturing, and socialization that are the necessary foundations of lasting health, development, and progress.

Dr. Parker\'s riveting portraits of children continues in the brave documentary tradition of Lewis Hine, Milton Rogovin, and Sebasti¿o Salgado, who have contributed to the legal and humanitarian advances of previous generations. We can only hope, as Hine said in the early twentieth century, that one day soon heartbreaking images like these will simply be ""records of the past."" Until then, Before Their Time is an essential call to action. 135 duotone photographs.