COLUMBIA: STREET CHILDREN
Medellin in the North West of the country and capital of the region. At our time of visiting, Columbia was labelled the world's deadliest country. In 2002 there was a murder every 20 minutes. Post Escobar the big drug cartels have floundered and the paramilitaries have filled the power vacuum. Using terror and force to drive peasants off their land, they secured some of the richest parts of the country in which to harvest and traffic cocaine. As thousands of families were displaced, conditions in the city slums worsened. For a variety of reasons ie domestic violence or drugs, many children decide the streets offer a better life option and run right down a one way alley into the welcoming arms of prostitution and glue sniffing. Beatings are not uncommon, whether it be from the police or fighting among themselves. Freedom tolls a heavy price.

© The Herald Newspaper

Columbia