Image: © Moises Saman, courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards 2009
Moises Saman Gangs of El Salvador Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) Gang Members Serving Time Inside Chelatenango Prison
All images: © Moises Saman, courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards 2009
Mara Savatrucha, or MS-13, is one the most notorious gangs in the world. Yet MS-13 and other gangs such as Calle 18 originated just decades ago among the Salvadorian immigrant community of Los Angeles. Soon the US authorities began deporting gang members back to El Salvador, exporting LA gang culture to a country rife with weapons from civil war and sparking an explosion in vicious gang-related crime. MS-13 currently has over 50,000 members in the US, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Cities like San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, experience some of the highest murder rates in the world.