Child recruitment is on the rise in Mexican cartels

Alert for more than 30,000 Mexican children recruited by drug trafficking.

Alert for more than 30,000 Mexican children recruited by drug trafficking.

Photo: José Méndez / EFE

That a minor is part of the drug cartels in Mexico it has ceased to be a surprising fact, to become a “normal” act among children who live in an environment of violence, who have been abandoned by their parents or who barely have basic levels of education.

The recruitment of minors for drug trafficking has stopped taking age into account,
since for some time now, 12-year-olds and even younger children can be seen in their ranks who are used as informants in charge of looking at who enters or who leaves a property, call it a home or business, as well as caretakers of safe houses where there are victims, drugs or weapons.

As children get older they begin to take on a more important role within a cartel, such as, for example, when they turn 16, minors are used for more violent acts such as kidnapping or murder.

According to the study of Recruitment and Use of Girls, Boys and Adolescents by Criminal Groups that was in charge of the National Citizen Observatory of Security, Justice and Legality, ONC, and the Network for the Rights of the Child in Mexico, Redim, poverty, neglect, as well as family violence and the few opportunities for growth lead children to become part of a cartel.

The same report reveals that 250 thousand children and adolescents are at the hands of countless criminal groups, without anything or anyone preventing them.

Meanwhile, a study of Girls, Boys and Adolescents Recruited by Organized Crime, prepared by Reinserta, indicated that The Jalisco Nueva Generación, Noreste and Los Zetas cartels are the main organizations that like to include minors in their ranks.

Although before there were more children who entered, lhe girls have also received an invitation to join a cartel or, on their own initiative.

These data put into question the statements of the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López, Obrador, who assured on October 3 that it is increasingly difficult for the bosses to recruit young people thanks to the social programs of his administration.

The truth is that Reinserta has released the testimony of more than 60 adolescents who were active members of organized crime and although there is no exact number of children who are part of this network, it is believed that 30 thousand are part from them.

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