Youth are vulnerable to recruitment into extremist groups which may commit terrorist acts when they inhabit environments with extremely high levels of corruption. This corruption includes both daily low-level corruption and the high level corruption that drains resources from countries and undermines the possibility of foreign direct investment. In the absence of possibilities for employment and in an environment of pervasive cynicism, youth are drawn into and can be recruited for extremist organizations. This phenomenon has been observed in many regions ranging from the Sahel, North Africa to the Middle East, Central Asia and Afghanistan and Pakistan. Terrorist groups often provide social services in an attempt to recruit youth who can subsequently be radicalized. The centrality of corruption to the problem of youth recruitment has not received the attention it deserves nor has been it been recognized for its galvanizing force in many regions of the world. This paper will discuss its influence and the reasons it must be more central to the discussions of violent extremism.
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