Before their time: the world of child labor

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Quantuck Lane Press, Aug 28, 2007 - Family & Relationships - 164 pages
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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 dama≥ 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.

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About the author (2007)

David L. Parker is a physician and activist specializing in worker health and safety. His photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, including the collections of the Library of Congress and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. He received a Christopher Award for work affirming the highest values of the human spirit, and a Twin Cities International Citizen Award for his work on human rights. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Senator Tom Harkin is an United States Senator from Iowa. He has long been concerned with child labor, and has been involved with the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) since its establishment in 1989.