|Title||A ‘Lens of Labor’: Re-Conceptualizing Young People’s Involvement in Organized Crime|
Millions of the world’s children engage in labour, often exploitative and essential to their survival. Child labour is closely related to crime; global discourse illustrates how young people are victims of forced and bonded labour and recent studies from the global South demonstrate how young people are hired as the ‘illicit labourers’ of organised crime groups. Despite this, there is a tendency to consider young people, not as labourers but as victims of trafficking or as offenders (often in relation to gangs). To address this lacuna, the article draws on data from 3 studies conducted in the global South to develop a conceptual framework suitable for understanding the intersection between labour and crime. The article develops a metaphorical ‘labour lens’; a lens which centres and prioritises labour and instrumental drivers for crime, embedded within wider structures of illicit markets, established organised crime, state:crime collaboration and the need for children to work to survive. The article integrates economic drivers for involvement in organised crime with the moral economy, within the context of ecological framework of crime, embedded with wider issues of coloniality. In doing so the article develops a new conceptual framework for considering young people’s involvement in organised crime.
|Keywords||Organised crime, gangs, street children, labour, decolonising criminology|
|Journal||Critical Criminology: an International Journal|
CC BY 4.0
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1007/s10612-022-09674-5|
|Published||04 Nov 2022|