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Before their time

SPH faculty member David Parker brings a human face to the tragic world of child labor

David Parker remembers the moment he first encountered child labor. It was the early 1990s and the occupational health physician was in Nepal investigating what was at the time a greatly unknown issue. “I walked into a factory, and there were about forty kids sitting on a cold, damp floor hand knotting carpets in a cramped room,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘My God, this is what people think of when they talk about child labor.’”

That trip led to many similar ones over the next two decades. Armed with a Leica camera, Parker documented young cotton pickers in Turkey, metal workers in Morocco, prostitutes in Thailand, leather tanners in Bangladesh, garbage pickers in Nicaragua, and many others. He often had to pose as a businessman (complete with falsified business cards) to gain access to work sites.

Read more in Advances Magazine.

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