The VICE Guide To Travel: Rio, Brazil
CITY OF OH-MY-GOD
A study published in Brazil concludes that more young people below the age of 18 are killed by guns each year in Rio de Janeiro than in many areas of the world formally at war. The study concludes that there are strong similarities between children involved in drug wars in Rio's slums and child soldiers elsewhere in the world.
Many slums in Rio de Janeiro have long been run by drug barons, often with links to local politicians and police. The report details how the gangs employ teenagers to guard their domains. Sometimes they are even given ranks and called soldiers. The levels of violence are comparable to a war zone.
In the last 14 years, for instance, almost 4,000 under-18-year-olds were killed by firearms in Rio alone.
That compares, the report says, with just under 500 children killed in the fighting between Palestinians and Israelis in the same period.
There are estimated to be between 5-6,000 armed children in Rio. Most of the killings take place in disputes over territory between drug gangs.