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MS-13, Barrio 18 Gangs Allegedly Employ More People in El Salvador Than Country’s Largest Employers

“MS-13 and Barrio 18, two of El Salvador’s most feared gangs, may have hired close to 60,000 people to work as ‘lookouts, collectors and assassins,’ compared to the 20,000 Salvadorans working for two U.S. underwear companies that are considered the Central American nation’s biggest employers, according to a report citing local officials. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that local authorities wielded little power in 248 of the 262 of the country’s municipalities. Both MS-13 and Barrio 18 compete fiercely to gain control over neighborhoods and regions, and even politicians have to ask permission to gang members for rallies or canvasses in certain localities. In addition to extorting business owners and commuters, gangs operate in rural areas where they threaten to set sugar crops ablaze if farmers don’t pay up. Both MS-13 and Barrio 18 could be employing as many as 60,000 people to run their operations, compared to the 20,000 who work for two of the country’s largest employees, Hanesbrands and Berkshire Hathaway-owned Fruit of the Loom, according to El Salvador’s defense ministry.”

Source: MS-13, Barrio 18 Gangs Allegedly Employ More People in El Salvador Than Country’s Largest Employers

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