Public Perception that Adolescents and Young People are the Main Causes of Insecurity and Violence
Often, male adolescents from impoverished and peripheral neighborhoods are stigmatized and singled out as “dangers to society.” They are largely blamed for the lack of security in their communities. The reality differs from these perceptions and is much more complex:
Lack of Real Opportunities
Victims of Violence
13 years old is the average age at which children are recruited by criminal groups in a number of countries
Quitting these organizations can mean risking life and personal integrity.
These criminal organizations are hierarchical with very strict rules. Any case of breaking internal rules or orders from above is met with violence, even in the extreme form of executions.
Main Forms of Exploitation
In these organizations, children and adolescents are used and abused to serve the interests of the criminal organization.
Adults consider them as interchangeable, throwaway pieces—the last link in the chain—and usually give them activities to do that pose a higher risk for their personal safety or risk of being detained by the police.
Transport of Guns
Robberies, Extortions, Kidnappings, and Murders
Gender Violence and Human Trafficking
Conditions of discrimination and structural violence in society against adolescent girls and women are alarmingly aggravated in contexts of insecurity and in those where criminal organizations operate.
Adolescent girls and women fall victim to acts of extreme violence, such as sexual violence; exploitation; cruel, humiliating, and degrading treatment; disappearances; and homicides.
Criminalization of Victims
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Migrant Families
There has been a marked surge in the number of unaccompanied migrant children and migrant families with children. Many children and their families leave their country of origin fleeing widespread violence, threats, and fear of gangs and organized crime; these factors sometimes converge with other causes related to lack of opportunities in their country of origin or family reunification in the destination country.
Photo Credit: CIDH