Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Child Labour - Photos made by Maya Pejić

Child Labour in the 1980's - Photos made by Maya Pejić

Maya Pejić (*1935) began her career as a photographer in 1966. She focused on ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands and on women, children and child labour in Third World countries. The  Maya Pejić Collection at the IISH includes almost 222.000 photographical items (photos, negatives, digital photos, prints, frames), publications and archival materials and was recently made accessible. Copyright rests with the IISH. [Click to enlarge and browse]

Pejić graduated as a sociologist. As of 1975 she travelled through the world with her camera. She was particularly moved by the situation of Moroccan girls working in the stench and poisonous chemicals of the the dying industry. She also observed that child labour is an accepted reality to the workers themselves, whereas in western eyes it is an appalling and sinister phenomenon. Her pictures attest to this: some children seem to have fun or even exude pride and self-confidence. Parents or grown-ups  in the background do not look ashamed or caught in the act of doing wrong.

These photos date from the 1980s, but child labour is by no means extinct. The NGO ‘Child Labor Coalition’ states:
“With an estimated 168 million children still trapped in exploitative labor, including 85 million doing hazardous work, we have an ambitious agenda ahead of us in 2016.”




3 February 2016