Childhood can be a happy time of innocence, but it’s not the case for every child. Why? To answer this question, Blue Sky Network will hold a talk on 6 July about gang culture and its impacts on children.
From Rio to London, Paris to Tokyo, and Naples to Santiago, gang culture has become a more popular phenomenon among children and adolescents than rap music. The criminal network is like the internet: it is broad and wireless.
People may think that gangs and narcos are commonplace in South American countries. For example, as pointed out by The Guardian, children in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro “rule with guns”, with gang members as young as 10 years of age. This can be shocking, yet it follows the stereotype. However, gangs are not only a “South American thing”. Can you imagine an Italian child holding a gun? Can you picture a British teenager working as a drug mule? Perhaps not, but the reality is there, on the streets of too many cities.
In Naples, child gangs involved with the local mafia, the well-known Camorra, are not unusual and take the name of “paranza”, a typical dish of fried fish.
Naples is a city where around 89 clans, involving 4,500 members, operate freely, generating an environment of crime, violence and instability. In this city, children join criminal organisations from a young age and, protected by the perception of impunity, debut with ferocious acts of violence to control small squares to sell drugs for their clan.
Moreover, the United Kingdom has been home to child gangs since the Victorian age. Nowadays, children are used by criminal organisations as “drug mules”.
Their work includes storing and supplying drugs and moving cash and drugs between the city and the countryside.
Of course, in order to keep their young members in line, criminal organisations use violence and torture, including the use of hammers, boiling water and knives, as explained by The Guardian. Within this context, more than 70 teenagers have lost their lives in London.
While vulnerable children have been more and more criminalised, it is necessary to question why they have left their toys to hold weapons.
Due to the importance of the topic, Nic Careem with Blue Sky Network has organised the talk “Is gang culture killing our children?”
The event will be attended by former gang members, police officers, community leaders, family members of lost ones, senior politicians and political activists to discuss how to stop the involvement of children in gang violence. The discussion will be chaired by Duwayne Brooks, the best friend murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. The event will take place on Tuesday 3 July, from 7 pm. to 9.15 p.m., at Committee Room 10, House of Commons. For further information, please visit here.