BRAZIL: Shocking Images of Children in Drug Gangs Carrying Guns Through 2014’s World Cup Location

By Damien Gayle on May 2, 2013—
“The largest city on Brazil’s north-east coast, Salvador is a major tourist destination and the site of a 56,500-seat stadium being readied for next year’s World Cup. It is also in the grip of an unprecedented wave of violence that has seen murder rates soar by more than 250 per cent.

The dense slums of the city, capital of Bahia state, are an impenetrable warren ruled by gangsters, who control the terrified and impoverished residents with intimidations, beatings and summary executions. Express kidnappings, where individuals are abducted and forced to withdraw funds from automated teller machines to secure their release, are common, as are muggings, robberies, pickpocketing, bag snatching and drug dealing.

Brazilian drug gangs regularly recruit minors to carry out their dirty work, because they often get lesser sentences, meaning that the most innocent face can hide a deadly killer.

With just over 13 months until the start of the World Cup and an expected mass influx of football fans, police in Salvador face a battle to take control of their city. But in a force notorious for brutality and corruption, they face opposition not only from criminal gangs but also a sceptical populace. These pictures show the brutal reality of life in the streets of Salvador’s slums.”

Taking no chances: Police search youths for weapons and drugs while on patrol in the Nordeste de Amaralina slum complex in Salvador, Bahia StateTaking no chances: Police search youths for weapons and drugs while on patrol in the Nordeste de Amaralina slum complex in Salvador, Bahia State

Whose streets? A Brazilian drug gang member nicknamed Firecracker, 22, poses with a gun atop a hill overlooking a slum in Salvador, Bahia StateWhose streets? A Brazilian drug gang member nicknamed Firecracker, 22, poses with a gun atop a hill overlooking a Salvador slum

Armed and dangerous: A young gangster nicknamed Giant, 17, poses with a gun atop the same hill. Salvador is in the grip of an unprecedented wave of violence that has seen murder rates soar by more than 250 per centArmed and dangerous: A young gangster nicknamed Giant, 17, poses with a gun atop the same hill. Salvador, which is a major tourist destination and a host city for the 2014 World Cup, is in the grip of an unprecedented wave of violence that has seen murder rates soar by more than 250 per cent

Warriors: Salvador, capital of Bahia state, is the largest city on Brazil's north-east coast, a major tourist destination and the site of a 56,500-seat stadium being readied for next year's World CupWarriors: The city, capital of Bahia state, is the largest city on Brazil’s north-east coast, is the site of a 56,500-seat stadium being readied for next year’s World Cup

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