Paolo Marchetti

Requiem Child

In Nicaragua the economic and social precariousness often induces parents to definitive and extreme choices. The illusion of a better future means that they leave their children to be subjected to various forms of violence, thus forcing them to give up schooling and pushing them into the heart of harsh experiences. In Central America and especially in Nicaragua, although compulsory education is planned up to 12 years, according to World Bank estimates, around 10% of children under 18 years living and working on the street. According to recent studies, approximately 320,000 children and young people between 5 and 14 years of age are forced to work. Three out of five Nicaraguan children working in agriculture. Others roaming the streets of Managua, cleaning the windshields of cars for a couple of pesos. In Managua nearly 1,000 children live on the largest garbage dump in Central America, “The Chureca” where rummage in search of food or recyclable materials, which can later resell on the streets of the city. Thousands of homeless children roam the streets without food, without the possibility of education and without the support of a family. Most of them sniff glue. Rampant is the phenomenon of “pandillas”, gangs made up of boys who often end up killed or detained in various prisons in the country. But Nicaragua only represent a small slice of pie, in fact in all the world this phenomenon is huge. For instance the estimation of working children aged 5 to 17 years amounts to 215 million, 115 million are involved in the worst forms of child labor (Source: ILO).
 Many suffer harassment, physical violence, psychological and sexual abuse inflicted particularly by “employers”. For 2011, the ILO (International Labour Organization) will also focus on the most dangerous forms of work, those that would seriously damage the health, safety or the psyche of children. The United Nations estimates that every year between 500 million to one billion and a half of children all over the world are subjected to some kind of violence, from the obligation to work enslaving, to the most various forms of exploitation and abuse, such as recruitment into gangs , prostitution or worse the experience of detention in prisons, devoid of rehabilitative programs and reintegration into society. 150 million girls and 73 million children are forced into sexual intercourse. In the world about 215 million children have to work to help their families of origin or survive. Children under the age of 14 who work are 176 million. 1 million children are detained in prison, this estimate is probably much lower than it is in reality, since often are not available informations on juvenile detainees awaiting trial.



Paolo Marchetti is based in Italy. He has worked for thirteen years in the cinema industry. In his photography he pays particular attention to political and anthropological issues. He has covered stories in Brazil, Central America, Cuba, Eastern Europe, India, the United States, Haiti, China, Central Africa, Colombia etc.

He publishes his work in international magazines such as L’Espresso, Vanity Fair, 6MOIS, Sunday Times, British Journal of Photojournalism, The Guardian, Geo, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, CNN, New York Times, Time etc.

Marchetti has received several awards such as 5 times the NPPA – Best of Photojournalism, 4 times the PDN’s Award, the Sony WPO Award, the Getty Images Grant, finalist at the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, 4 awards at the POYi, the American Photography Annual Book, the ANI Pix-Palace, the Leica Photographer Award, the SDN – Social Documentary Network, the Alexia Foundation Grant and the World Press Photo etc.

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Paolo Marchetti

5 thoughts on “Paolo Marchetti – Requiem Child”

  1. Extremely effective essay that brings home what these young people face better than any other work I can recall seeing. The images are masterful. It kind of throws a new light on those incidents in Mexico – and even New York City – when you stop at light and some kid runs up and starts to clean your windshield.

    And I thought I had it tough when I was fine and my mom sent me out to sell newspapers on the street – not as a matter of survival – Dad had taken care of that – but to teach me the value of hard work and to learn how to manage money and pay tithing. The later two thirds of this goal totally failed.

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