Troubled Kids Used as Drug Couriers

Drug trafficking rings in Tajikistan have been making increasing use of women and children, who are less likely to attract the police’s attention.

Troubled Kids Used as Drug Couriers

Drug trafficking rings in Tajikistan have been making increasing use of women and children, who are less likely to attract the police’s attention.

Friday, 27 February, 2009
Tajikistan is a major transit route for Afghan heroin heading north towards Russia and Europe. Organised criminals use adolescents for moving consignments within the country rather than over borders.



Reporter Parviz Aminov spoke to a teenage girl whose mother has voluntarily placed her in a special school for troubled children, as a way of isolating her away from the street dealers and traffickers – many of whom are girls of a similar age.



The 16-year-old cannot read or write, but already has a good working knowledge of narcotics. She has handled heroin and marijuana and taken consignments on flights from the capital Dushanbe to the main town in the north of the country, Khojent.



“When I was on the street I always had money; they don’t give you money here,” she complained.



She was placed at the school by her mother, but others are forced to attend the institution after a brush with the law.



Psychologists working at the school say most children who end up on the street and become involved in crime have come from difficult backgrounds – alcoholism, crime, poverty and family break-ups.



“There are 12 to 14 year olds who never even went to the first year of school; they’ve been on the streets since early childhood,” said the school head.
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