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Mexico's non-profit children were recruited by drug cartels at the age of 13, some killed. - - Job Offer Ads
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Mexico’s non-profit children were recruited by drug cartels at the age of 13, some killed.

National Guard Patrol Site of Killing

According to the Associated Press, the non-profit group Renserta found that young people who joined drug cartels in Mexico first came in contact with cartels between the ages of 13 and 15 on average. Because they cannot be charged as adults and can more easily fly under the radar, minors in the country are increasingly being recruited by cartels to complete drug sales, eventually killing. Be done

Renserta, which works to prevent or rehabilitate young people in cartels, interviewed a total of 89 juveniles in three juvenile delinquency facilities and found that 67 were actively involved with the cartels. According to his report released on Wednesday, all members of the cartel had dropped out of school and started using firearms.

Minors are usually recruited by children of the same age, Renserta said. Some use drugs or religion to recruit minors, while others describe a family sense of belonging that many children may miss. According to the nonprofit, poverty, housing and irresponsible schools and social agencies can make some children particularly vulnerable to recruitment.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

National Guard Patrol Site of Killing.
The non-profit group Renserta found that young people who are on average associated with drug cartels first contact cartels between the ages of 13 and 15. Above, members of the National Guard patrol the Sonora Mountains in Mexico on November 8, 2019.
Harika Martinez / AFP via Getty Images

Jacobo grew up in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, home to the Jalisco New Generation Drug Cartel. Never comfortable at school, he was abused as a child: on one occasion his mother held his hands over an open fire when he allegedly pushed a classmate.

Now 17, Jacobo claims he didn’t. But by 12, he had been recruited by the cartel to carry out his first assassination. “They are looking for children who are on the streets and need money,” he recalls. “At age 12, I became like a mercenary.”

Jakubo told his story to a Mexican non-profit group, Renzerta, which withheld the full names of young people because they were all too young. ۔

“A neighbor asked me, ‘Do you want to make money?’ “Growing up in a home where his family could rarely end up, the answer was clear.” I said yes. Who doesn’t want money? “But the $ 1,500 he earned didn’t last long. He became addicted to meth, partly to silence the psychological effects of what he was doing.

On the outskirts of Mexico City, as a teenager, he tortured members of rival cartels for information, killing them and cutting their bodies or dissolving them in acid.

This was his last job, and the cartel ordered him to be killed in public with several witnesses. Police He came looking for her, and she hid. The cartel contacted him and said he wanted to change his hiding place, “but it was a trap.” Not very useful anymore – like many disposable street level drug dealers, lookouts and hitmen – the cartel wanted to get rid of it.

“When I showed them the meeting place, they started shooting at me,” Jacob said. “I was shot in the head, in the back, in the abdomen.” Left for the dead, he somehow miraculously survived, and is now serving a four-year sentence for murder.

Mexican law allows for a maximum sentence of three to five years for most juvenile offenders, meaning almost all drop out before the age of 21.

This is a difficult task in Mexico. Even though he is alive, Jacob is still scared. He knows from his work for the cartel that it is everywhere, and will not stop at anything. “Now I have only one goal to eliminate, a little trouble for one of the most powerful cartels in the country.”

Marina Flores, a researcher at Renserta, said the study showed that some common myths about children in drug cartels were incorrect.

Although children are almost always addicted to drugs and drop out – or are expelled from school before joining the cartel, membership in local street groups no longer seems to play a significant role. In Mexico, cartels are recruiting children directly after they leave school.

“Street gangs are not a prelude to organized crime,” Flores said. “We know that as soon as they are kicked out of school, they go into organized crime.”

The Mexican Children’s Rights Network says 21,000 young people under the age of 18 were killed and 7,000 went missing in Mexico between 2000 and 2019.

The group estimates that by 2019, 30,000 young people have been recruited by drug gangs.

In the northern border states, children are more likely to be attracted to drugs, more weapons and other training from cartels, engage in a wider range of criminal activity, and more violent than young people in the southern states. Accelerate the characters.

Orlando, for example, grew up on the streets of northern cities after escaping from an orphanage. Between the ages of ten and 16, he estimated that he had killed 19 people, mostly at the behest of the Sinaloa cartel.

Now, at the age of 17 and serving four years for murder, he says, “I know no other way to live than to kill people.”

Like Orlando, Aiwan grew up in a northern border town with a father who worked for a cartel.

But Ivan did not suffer from poverty or abuse. He made a conscious decision to join the same cartel for which his father had worked.

“I was very impressed with the narco culture, I loved the corrido, the (television) series, the guns, the trucks,” he recalls.

Until the age of 11, he was working as a cartel killer, hacking or dissecting the bodies of his victims. The first sight of his corpses frightened him, but in a short time “I felt nothing, no fear, no regrets, no guilt, nothing.” The House is also serving a sentence for murder.

Renserta suggests possible solutions that include early attention for children, more fun and learning opportunities, and interventions to prevent domestic violence. The group also offers a national registry of children recruited through cartels, psychological counseling for them and early and effective drug treatment.

Abandoned Cartel House.
Because they cannot be charged as adults and can more easily fly under the radar, juveniles in Mexico are increasingly being recruited by cartels to complete drug sales, eventually killing. Be done The photo shows an abandoned house in the possession of a drug cartel in Valle de Juarez, Mexico, on November 22, 2019.
Harika Martinez / AFP via Getty Images