The enormous, uncontrolled urban growth in Asia, Africa and Latin America – economic growth, political instability, military coups and natural disasters – has opened the door for criminal gang activity, mafia and terrorism, especially in "fragile" states. Entire cities and districts are today controlled by such "organisations", often in close cooperation with political and economic elites. Central and South American cities are particularly vulnerable, and young people are in any case a risk group for being dragged along. The International Labor Organization estimates that young people between the ages of 15 and 24 make up more than half of all unemployed people in the world. Organized crime becomes the only way out for many. When neither the authorities nor development actors have the ability or the will to facilitate young people's participation in social life, it causes frustration, and social cohesion is threatened.
Mara salvatrucha, also known as MS 13, developed decades back in the cities of . . .
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