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The 10 Most Brutal And Cruel Gang Initiation Rituals

Updated January 11, 2020 226.9k views10 items

Organized crime is a phenomenon that transcends borders and cultures; it's a universal, nefarious practice that's as diverse as it is common. Gangs exist all around the world, often violently at odds with one another over turf and money. They're so interesting that they're the subject of movies, music, and television shows, and pop culture does a good job of illustrating what gangs are willing to do to their rivals. From offing the competition in drive-by shootings to putting enemies' heads in vices until they talk, the details of what gang members do can be extremely shocking.

What is underrepresented, however, is what people do to get into gangs. These young recruits are willing to do whatever it takes to show their loyalty, which often means subjecting themselves to injury and humiliation. These gang rituals are frequently just as horrifying as the transgressions they commit against their rivals. As this list shows, these brutal gang initiations are often more violent and f*cked up than you could imagine.

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  • The Latin Kings Will Gang-Rape Female Recruits

    Photo: Javier Ramirez / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Latin Kings - sometimes known as the Almighty Latin Kings - are one of America's oldest gangs, with their origins dating back to New York City around the 1920s. This predominately Latino organization remains an incredibly violent and active gang, with somewhere around 25,000 members nationwide, all draped in the gang's signature black and gold colors.

    Because it's such a sprawling organization, entry into the Latin Kings can require different things in different places, most commonly involving getting "jumped in," which is getting beat up by other members. There is, however, a more heinous initiation that sometimes occurs with new female recruits: They are "sexed in" - meaning they are gang-raped by existing members. Rival gang MS-13 is known to use this initiation, as well. 

  • To Get Into The Numbers Gangs, You Draw Blood From An Officer Or Agree To Be A Sex Slave

    The Numbers Gangs are found in South Africa's Western Cape prison system and consist of three main gangs: the 26s, 27s, and 28s. These gangs, according to some, go back as far as 1812 and retain to this day a legacy of brutality and violence.

    Ranked in a hierarchy of violence, the 28s are the bloody zenith of the Numbers Gangs, and new recruits are offered two ways of climbing the ranks: The first career track is the "Gold Line," for those willing to advance by drawing blood from correctional officers; and the second is the "Silver Line," for those who are "willing" to be sex slaves for the higher-ranking members. 

  • New Bloods Recruits Have To Cut Someone's Face So Bad That They Require At Least 150 Stitches

    Photo: Og rahim rashad / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    The United Blood Nation (AKA the Bloods) is a coast-to-coast crime organization founded in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. The Bloods, known to be clad in all red, are one of the largest and most well-organized gangs, excelling in drug dealing and racketeering through strong-arm business practices.

    Entry into the Bloods, like other large gangs including the Crips or Latin Kings, can require different initiations regionally, but New York's admission ritual seems to be a cut above the rest. New recruits in NYC are required to dole out a "buck-50" to a rival or stranger's face, which is the act of slashing a person's cheek with a box cutter, leaving them with a laceration that requires at least 150 stitches.

  • In London, Gangsters Either Stab Someone Or Eat Dog Feces

    Photo: Bangali71 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    The UK criminal underworld is known for its creative violence, largely due to the lack of guns, which are much more ubiquitous among American gangs. What this often means is more brutal stabbings and slashings. 

    One anonymous London gangster told The Independent that, in order to join his gang, he was offered the choice of stabbing another boy or eating dog feces. In a show of compassion or simply nerves, the young man chose the latter, which, while perhaps noble, left him sick and hospitalized.