The Gangs of Bangladesh

Mastaans, Street Gangs and ‘Illicit Child Labourers’ in Dhaka

  • Sally Atkinson-Sheppard

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    Pages 1-21
  3. Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    Pages 23-48
  4. Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    Pages 121-134
  5. Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    Pages 153-170
  6. Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    Pages 171-181
  7. Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    Pages 183-196
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 197-203

About this book


This book presents a study of street children’s involvement as workers in Bangladeshi organised crime groups based on a three-year ethnographic study in Dhaka. The book argues that ‘mastaans’ are Bangladeshi mafia groups that operate in a market for crime, violence and social protection. It considers the crimes mastaans commit, the ways they divide labour, and how and why street children become involved in these groups. The book explores how street children are hired by ‘mastaans’, to carry weapons, sell drugs, collect extortion money, commit political violence and conduct contract killings. The book argues that these young people are neither victims nor offenders; they are instead ‘illicit child labourers’, doing what they can to survive on the streets. This book adds to the emerging fields of the sociology of crime and deviance in South Asia and ‘Southern criminology’.


trafficking modern slavery juvenile justice youth justice punishment poverty and crime victims young people organised crime south asia crime group drugs weapons social protection

Authors and affiliations

  • Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonThe Dickson Poon School of LawLondonUK

Bibliographic information