Police: Summer holidays increase the risk of children being recruited by criminal gangs

organized crime

Published 20 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The roles that gangs assign to children can often involve serious violent crime.

The risk of children being recruited by criminal gangs increases during the summer, the Swedish police warns. Fewer activities and less contact with adults at school and during leisure time make it easier for children to be exploited.

Recently, there has been increased attention on how criminal networks draw children and young people into their activities to help them commit crimes. According to the police, this type of recruitment shows no signs of abating and is even increasing. Even the tasks that children are often given, which used to be more like guarding or delivering something, have now escalated, sometimes involving serious violent crimes.

– You may be told to blow up or set fire to a gate or apartment door to intimidate, but the reason may be much bigger and have motives you don’t know about. You may be told to place a fake bomb outside a door, but it may actually be a live bomb that risks harming you and others”, said Hanna Paradis, head of the police’s national campaign against serious organized crime, in a press release.

According to the police, the recruitment of children and young people into criminal networks can increase during the summer holidays. One reason for this is that children have less contact with adults at school and in their free time, which reduces social control. The police therefore urge parents to call if they have any suspicions, for example if their child has stopped asking for money or has brought home new clothes or a cell phone.

” All of society must pull together”

– We want to encourage them to come forward, rather than not coming forward. Parents and other adults are an important part of the police’s work in identifying young people who are being recruited by criminals”, says Paradis.

Last week it was also announced that Iran is using criminal networks in Sweden to carry out politically motivated acts, which the police believe could mean that children are being recruited for such missions. The police also point out that it is not only the big cities that are affected, but that it is happening all over Sweden.

– Given the increased risk of new recruitment during the summer and the reports that the missions can become more dangerous if foreign powers can also order missions through Swedish criminals, the whole of society must work together to prevent the recruitment of children”, says Paradis.

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