EL SALVADOR: GANG CAGES
In San Salvador, the two main street gangs are known as 'Mara Salvatruchas' (MS-13) and 'Barrio18' (M18). Through friends in the country, I joined with a Police Captain and former gang-members who together immersed me into the 'gang truce' situation in a rough suburb that's some 20 miles outside of San Salvador. Over the next few days, I spent time with the special police units patrolling the streets of this particularly troubled area where the two main gangs live and operate.In the back of the local police station, I was shown a sweltering enclosure ringed by a high, barbed wire wall, there were three, 12x15 ft cages each full of prisoners, one for each gang and another for 'common criminals'. These cages were designed to be 72-hour holding cells but many have been imprisoned here for over a year and spend their days pulling apart their clothes and sewing together hammocks in which they sleep stacked on top of each other.