Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, has become the murder capital of the world. Last year, 3,100 were killed. Since 2008, the city of 1.5 million has seen more casualties than the current war in Afghanistan, which has a population of 28 million.

The most vulnerable in Ciudad Juarez are Los Ninis, young men and women between the ages of 14 and 24 who earned their name from the phrase “ni estudian, ni trabajan”—those who neither work nor study.

There are about 10 million Ninis across Mexico, but the largest concentration is in Juarez.

Ninis as young as 13 are being lured from work and school by drug cartels that use them to kill for cash. They're offered $45 a hit, about as much as an unskilled worker earns in a week in Juarez. At the heart of the problem is desperate unemployment and poverty, which leads many of these young people to turn to the warring cartels for employment.

Journalist Susana Seijas and photographer Dominic Bracco have made multiple visits to Ciudad Juarez to document the fallout of this crisis that threatens to engulf an entire generation.

Susana Seijas's picture
Grantee
Susana Seijas is a freelance journalist and CBS News’ freelance TV producer based in Mexico City. Previously, she was a Knight International Journalism Fellow at Televisa, where she trained Mexican...
Dominic Bracco II's picture
Grantee
Photographer Dominic Bracco II explores the effects of global economics on local communities. Clients include The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and...