Cape gangs recruiting women and girls as young as 12 years, researcher finds
- Imanuella Muller has conducted her thesis research on how young girls and women in the Western Cape are recruited and initiated into gangs
- Muller recently obtained her Master's degree in Psychology at Stellenbosch University
- Her research looks into how gangs rope in girls and women and the roles that they fill
Some gangs in the Western Cape are recruiting girls as young as 12 years to do their dirty work for them.
That's according to research conducted by Master’s graduate and counsellor, Imanuella Muller, who studied how girls and women are recruited and initiated into Cape gangs.
Muller interviewed women who have been involved in gang culture to differing extents and who participated in an intervention project that she was a part of.
She found that gangs tend to recruit girls and women from poor homes and difficult family situations. She says the gangs exploit the girls’ vulnerabilities to lure them in.
According to her research, women and girls often participate in robberies and in break-ins with fellow male gang members. They are also used to hide drugs, weapons, and other contraband.
In addition, women and girls are often "the eyes and ears" for gang members who need informants.
More worryingly, the women are used for sex and some become so-called "trap girls" to lure in rival male gang members before they are attacked.
With this research, participants spoke about the fact that women are involved in the core gang activities. They are selling drugs for gangs, gangs are even using high school girls and primary school girls to sell drugs at school for them.Imanuella Muller, Master’s graduate - Stellenbosch University
They are actually contributing to the financial resources of the gang, and they are also bringing in income for gangs.Imanuella Muller, Master’s graduate - Stellenbosch University
Research focusing on particularly on women and girls in gangs is very scarce, internationally but also within the South African context.Imanuella Muller, Master’s graduate - Stellenbosch University
Source : SAPS.