Marco Vernaschi was born in Turin, Italy, in 1973, and he's currently based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He's currently working on a large, long-term project about the phenomenon of child witches, child sacrifice and organ trafficking in Africa, and the business behind this fraudulent phenomenon. Marco also documented the major illegal activities behind narco-terrorism with his project "West Africa's New Achilles' Heel", on cocaine trafficking, in Guinea Bissau.
His work with the Pulitzer Center documented how criminal networks led by Hezbollah and Al Qaeda control drug trafficking in Africa.
In Bolivia, he documented the early stages of President Evo Morales’ new policy on coca crops, showing how the indigenous people living in the region of Chapare are forced by the circumstances - and by increasing demand of cocaine in Europe and the United States - to deal with drug trafficking, under constant blackmail and threat by the counter-narcotics police. The resulting story, “Bolivia: Broken Promises”, documented the involvement of children in cocaine smuggling, was defined as unprecedented by the New York Times.
In 2006, Marco covered the tin war in Bolivia’s Altiplano documenting the fratricidal conflicts among miners and its aftermath. The result was his story “Condemned to Repeat” and the photo essay “The Bitter Taste of Salt,” on the daily struggle of the Quechua salt-miners living in the northwestern salt flats of Argentina who are exploited by the international salt industry. In Madagascar he documented child prostitution among the forgotten Tanala people, their struggle against a devastating wave of AIDS and the environmental problems related to their primitive form of agriculture, resulting in the story “Tales of Hope.” Marco worked on other stories in Indonesia, India, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Belize. His works are published internationally by major outlets such as Newsweek, TIME, National Geographic, The New York Times, Sunday Times Magazine and GEO, among the others. Marco was awarded the following prizes:
- PGB Photo Award 2010 - Overall winner - "Best Picture of the Year"
- PGB Photo Award 2010 - "Best Picture Story of the Year"
- World Press Photo 2010 - 1st Prize Stories - General News
- Lens Culture International Exposure Award 2009 - Top Prize
- ICP Infinity Award in Photojournalism - Nominee
- ODP Award for Human Values 2009 - Finalist
- FUJIFILM Prize for Photojournalism 2005
- FIP - Young Photojournalist of the Year 2004