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Children and Drug Trafficking in Brazil: Can International Law Provide Protections for Children Involved in Drug Trafficking?

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Veridiana Bessa Franciozo Diniz

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Tampa

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Jody McBrien

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Brazil has seen a rise in children in narco-trafficking due to increased conflicts between factions and local law enforcement. Mainstream media and scholars tend to frame actions of these factions as organized crime, ignoring the generalized violence the communities and children experience. The aim of this study is to analyse whether or not Brazilian children involved in drug trafficking can be classified as child soldiers. Drawing from the international definition of Armed Conflict in Article 3 of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and Article 1 of the Additional Protocol II, and comparing situations of realities faced by Brazilian children involved in narco-trafficking, we argue that their reality is analogous to that of child soldiers, as defined by the Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict 2007; thus, going beyond the organized crime definition. In characterizing them as child soldiers, we argue for improving the children's ability to be reintegrated into society, with the collective help of the international community.

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Children and Drug Trafficking in Brazil: Can International Law Provide Protections for Children Involved in Drug Trafficking?

Brazil has seen a rise in children in narco-trafficking due to increased conflicts between factions and local law enforcement. Mainstream media and scholars tend to frame actions of these factions as organized crime, ignoring the generalized violence the communities and children experience. The aim of this study is to analyse whether or not Brazilian children involved in drug trafficking can be classified as child soldiers. Drawing from the international definition of Armed Conflict in Article 3 of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and Article 1 of the Additional Protocol II, and comparing situations of realities faced by Brazilian children involved in narco-trafficking, we argue that their reality is analogous to that of child soldiers, as defined by the Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict 2007; thus, going beyond the organized crime definition. In characterizing them as child soldiers, we argue for improving the children's ability to be reintegrated into society, with the collective help of the international community.