Former gang members in El Salvador find new life in chicken farming

Americas Now

Former gang members in El Salvador find new life in chicken farming

Gang violence is a daunting dilemma for the country of El Salvador as teenagers face increasing pressure to join gang. Thousands of Salvadorian children risk their lives each year by illegally immigrating to the U.S, just to avoid being recruited into a gang.

The U.S. Border Patrol said from October 20-13 to August 20-14, it counted over 15,000 children from El Salvador crossing the border without an adult. The majority said gangs and violence were their reason for leaving.

Other teens from El Salvador become gangsters out of fear, while others do it to feel a sense of belonging.

Former gang members in El Salvador find new life in chicken farming

Former gang members in El Salvador find new life in chicken farming

Gang violence is a daunting dilemma for the country of El Salvador as teenagers face increasing pressure to join gang. Thousands of Salvadorian children risk their lives each year by illegally immigrating to the U.S, just to avoid being recruited into a gang.

Gang leader Marvin Gonzalez said the gang lifestyle is appealing because people want to feel safe, especially people without a family.

“I was looking for an identity and the gangs gave me that. So I began to participate and I was soon arrested for homicide and sentenced to 10 years,” Gonzalez said.

Gang members that are trying to leave a life of crime, also face challenges. CCTV America correspondent Michelle Begue visits a new rehabilitation program that could help change that.

It helps members of the most notorious gangs, including the “MS-13” gang, clean up their act and change their behavior through an unlikely activity, chicken farming. It’s a way for former gang members to learn a new set of skills and get a fresh start.

Gang activity in El Salvador has halted tourism and has afflicted towns such as Ilopango for decades.

The mayor of Ilopango, along with a truce mediator for the gangs, Raul Mijango, and gang leader Marvin Gonzalez, collaborated to create jobs through chicken farming. They have already employed 24 members of MS-13.

The chicken farm has been around for one year and nine months. It’s going into the second phase of the project, growing and selling vegetables to local shops.

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