Criminals exploit black youth
By Leon Harrison
PERTH — Aboriginal youth are being exploited by adults who are forcing them into housebreaking and theft, according to Aboriginal Legal Service executive officer Rob Riley.
Riley said that an 80-90% unemployment rate and the general social dislocation of Aboriginal youth make them open to manipulation. Other youth were also likely to be exploited.
"Shopping lists" for stolen goods were being circulated among Aboriginal and white youth by criminal elements. The lists stipulated items that should be stolen and included TVs, videos, hi-fi equipment, microwave ovens and compact disc players.
Riley described the adult exploiters of Aboriginal youth as the "scum of the earth".
Many kids were apparently stealing to pay for alcohol and drugs, Riley said. Amphetamines and dope were also being used to hype kids up to get them to steal.
Kids as young as eight were being used because it was easier for them to climb through smaller spaces such as toilet windows.
Riley said that government funding agencies should consider programs developed by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people and embracing traditional values of caring and sharing.