By Mauro Testa and Ross Eventon

The local drug trade and the rising levels of violence in the city of Rosario were forced on to the public agenda on New Years day 2012, when three social activists were killed by members of a gang involved in drug trafficking. Protests followed the murders, as did media and, later, political attention. Since then, the situation for poor and vulnerable young people living in the peripheral neighbourhoods of the city known as the villas has become ever more complicated. As elsewhere in Latin America, the teenaged gang member involved in trafficking, the lowest and most visible link in the chain, has become the focus of a general panic over ‘insecurity’. The provincial and national government face a dilemma already familiar to a number of other countries in the region. This article anaylyses ways of responding to teenage gang members involved in drug trafficking. 

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