Drug Trafficking

ECOWAS and Free Movement of Persons: African Women as Cross-Border Victims


Aduloju, Ayodeji Anthony. 2017. "ECOWAS and Free Movement of Persons: African Women as Cross-Border Victims." Journal of International Women's Studies 18 (4): 89-105.

Author: Ayodeji Anthony Aduloju


Existing literature has investigated the challenges of interstate border dispute, border conflict and their security and developmental implications for the West African sub-region. ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol of Persons was instituted to enhance economic development of West Africa’s citizens. However, studies have shown that the protocol has relatively aided transborder trafficking in persons, drugs, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). However, vulnerability of trans-border women traders in the sub-region have received little attention. This study utilized both primary and secondary sources of data gathering in order to interrogate the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons vis-à-vis its operationalization and incapacity to increase women’s economic opportunity and empowerment in West Africa. Through field survey, twenty (20) interviews were conducted at the Nigeria-Benin border. The interviews targeted 14 purposively selected women traders at the border, two officials each of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigeria Police Force. Moreover, observation method was employed to substantiate the interviews conducted. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive analysis. Consequently, this study discovered that women constituted more of trans-border traders on Nigeria-Benin border, and precisely in West Africa. In addition, they are vulnerable to extortion, intimidation and sexual harassment by border officials, which has impinged on their rights contained in the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. The study showed that the protocol does not fully protect women (mostly the ones with low economic characteristics who constitute larger population of women at the border) and thereby having implications for their livelihood and survival. The study then concluded that while the problem faced by women on the Nigeria-Benin border persists, it has a huge impact on the credibility of ECOWAS to properly integrate the sub-region for development and for the benefit of its significant population of women.

Keywords: ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol, gender, Trans-Border Women Traders, West Africa, sub-regional integration

Topics: Development, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Trafficking, Arms Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Benin, Nigeria

Year: 2017

Mothers, Warriors and Lords: Gender(ed) Cartographies of the US War on Drugs in Latin America


Telles, Ana Clara. 2019. “Mothers, Warriors and Lords: Gender(ed) Cartographies of the US War on Drugs in Latin America.” Contexto Internacional 41 (1): 15-38.

Author: Ana Clara Telles


This paper aims to offer a feminist, Latin-American reading on the gender representations that constitute the discourse on the US war on drugs in Latin America. Drawing upon the feminist literature on international security, this article explores some of the nuances of the US war-on-drugs discourse when it comes to gender. It argues that, although a gendered discourse has been constantly present in US official discourse, it has visibly changed in character as the USA’s antidrug policies became increasingly internationalized, militarized, and oriented by a ‘supply-side approach.’ Once deployed through the feminization of drug consumption as a moral degradation of the nation’s social body, US war-on-drugs discourse perceptibly changed to encompass a process of hyper-masculinization of the figure of the US drug warrior, supported by subordinate masculinities and femininities represented by the subaltern, feminized Latin American drug warriors, and the ruthless, hyper-aggressive drug lords. Ultimately, the gender(ed) cartographies of the USA’s war-on-drugs discourse work as conditions of possibility for framing the war on drugs as the only ‘solution’ to the ‘drug problem’ and reaffirm the incessant search for sovereignty that has as its ultimate goal the total control, domination and vigilance of human interaction with psychoactive substances: attributes of a hegemonic state masculinity par excellence. Through gendered (in)security performances, the state defends not only its ‘physical’ borders from external threats, but also its own frontiers of possibility.

Keywords: war on drugs, gender studies, gender representations, Latin America, illicit drugs

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking Regions: Americas, Central America, South America

Year: 2019

Raising Children in a Violent Context: An Intersectionality Approach to Understanding Parents’ Experiences in Ciudad Juárez


Grineski, Sara E., Alma A. Hernández, and Vicky Ramos. 2013. “Raising Children in a Violent Context: An Intersectionality Approach to Understanding Parents’ Experiences in Ciudad Juárez.” Women’s Studies International Forum 40 (September): 10–22. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2013.04.001.

Authors: Sara E. Grineski, Alma A. Hernández, Vicky Ramos


Children's and parents' daily lives are rarely highlighted in coverage of drug wars. Using 16 interviews with parents in the Mexican border city of Juárez in 2010, we examine how drug violence impacts families with a focus on intersections of gender and social class. Related to mobility (the first emergent theme), fathers had increased mobility as compared to mothers, which caused different stresses. Material hardships heightened mothers' isolation within the home, and mothers more often had to enforce children's mobility restrictions, which children resisted. Related to employment (the second emergent theme), fathers took on dangerous jobs to provide for the family while mothers had fewer options for informal employment due to violence. In sum, men and women faced different challenges, which were intensified due to class-based material disadvantages. Conformity with traditional gender expectations for behavior was common for men and women, illustrating the normalization of gender inequality within this context.

Topics: Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Violence Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2013

An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia the Illegal Trade in Arms, Drugs, People, Counterfeit Goods and Natural Resources in Mainland Southeast Asia


Chouvy, Pierre-Arnaud. 2012. An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia the Illegal Trade in Arms, Drugs, People, Counterfeit Goods and Natural Resources in Mainland Southeast Asia. London: I.B. Tauris.

Author: Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy


Mainland Southeast Asia is one of the world's key regions for trafficking of illegal goods. It is home to an international trade in small arms, nuclear smuggling rings, human trafficking, contraband and counterfeit goods, illicit currency and smuggled medicinal drugs. The scope and mechanisms of such trafficking, however, are far from understood. An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia brings together key researchers and cartographic specialists to provide a unique overview of the major forms of illegal trafficking in the region. Featuring 32 specially drawn full-colour maps detailing the trafficking hubs, counter-trafficking facilities and border status for each of the trafficking activities, together with political, historical, topographic, ecological and linguistic regional maps, the atlas provides an unparalleled reference resource that will be welcomed by professionals and academics across a wide range of disciplines. (I.B. Tauris)


Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: Illegal Trades Across National Borders
Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy
2. Drug Trafficking In and Out of the Golden Triangle
Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy
3. Trafficking, Trade and Migration: Mapping Human Trafficking in the Mekong Region
David A. Feingold
4. Arms Trafficking in Mainland Southeast Asia
David Capie
5. The Jagged Edge: Illegal Logging in Southeast Asia
Vanda Felbab-Brown
6. The Illegal Trade in Wildlife in Southeast Asia and Its Links to East Asian Markets
Vanda Felbab-Brown
7. The Trade in Counterfeit Goods and Contraband in Mainland Southeast Asia
Bertil Lintner


“Human trafficking feeds an extensive regional prostitution market with Thailand being infamous the world over for that reason; and in terms of drug trafficking, opium and heroin are produced in bulk within the similarly ill-famed Golden Triangle. Complexity arises from the fact that human trafficking and drug trafficking can be said to be linked in some places, and to some extent, from whether drug consumption by prostitutes – and by many of their clients – is concerned or whether economic havoc created by excessively brutal and rapid eradication of illegal crops pushes women into prostitution. However, as we will see, complexity is likewise increased by the fact that many other illegal trades feed off these two major trafficking activities and their sometimes congruous networks. Some of these trades may, at some point, contribute to one another; they may also proceed, to some extent, from propitious specific regional dynamics (trafficking in drugs and arms in the context of armed conflicts, for example). It is this great diversity and complexity of illegal trading across mainland Southeast Asia that this book addresses, focusing on five of its most pervasive phenomenon: drug trafficking, human trafficking, arms trafficking, wildlife and timber trafficking, and the trade in counterfeit goods and contraband.” (1-2)

“The most active illegal border trade between Burma and Thailand occurred and still occurs at three points: Mae Sai, Mae Sot and Ranong.” (12)

“The evolution of drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle has forged new transport routes in the region and has brought abandoned routes back into service, such as those previously used by communist guerrillas. Other pathways were never abandoned. Traditional caravaners such as the Haw of Thailand and the Hui (Panthay) of Burma are very active in the regional illicit drug trade, and still use routes today that their forebears used at the end of the nineteenth century.” (13)

“Trafficking of various illegal goods almost invariably occurs along a single route, in the same cargo or not.” (14)

“The number and diversity of drug trafficking routes enable other types of smuggling and/or trafficking activities, sometimes by notorious drug traffickers themselves.” (16)

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Sexual Violence, Trafficking, Arms Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia

Year: 2012

The Relationship of Drug and Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective


Shelley, Louise. 2012. “The Relationship of Drug and Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective.” European Journal on Criminal Policy & Research 18 (3): 241–53. doi:10.1007/s10610-012-9175-1.

Author: Louise Shelley

Keywords: drugs, human trafficking, labor exploitation, organized crime, sex trafficking

Topics: Gender, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2012

Trafficking in Women: The Business Model Approach


Shelley, Louise. 2003. “Trafficking in Women: The Business Model Approach.” Brown Journal of World Affairs 10 (1): 119–31.

Author: Louise Shelley

Topics: Corruption, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2003

Criminal Groups and Transnational Illegal Markets


Bruinsma, Gerben, and Wim Bernasco. 2004. “Criminal Groups and Transnational Illegal Markets.” Crime, Law & Social Change 41: 79–94.

Authors: Gerben Bruinsma, Wim Bernasco


In the study of organised crime, the traditional view of criminal groups as centrally controlled organisations has been replaced by the notion of criminal networks. However, little use has been made of concepts and theories of social networks that have developed in other social sciences. This paper uses concepts from social network theory to describe and tentatively explain differences in social organization between criminal groups that perform three types of transnational illegal activities: smuggling and large-scale heroine trading, trafficking in women, and trading stolen cars. Groups that operate in the large-scale heroin market tend to be close-knit, cohesive and ethnically homogenous. Groups active in the trafficking of women have a chain structure, while those that operate in the market for stolen cars are charactersed by three clusters of offenders in a chain. Both groups are less cohesive than criminal groups in the large-scale heroin market. The differences in social organisation between the three types of illegal activities appear to be related to the legal and financial risks associated with the crimes in question, and thereby to the required level of trust between collaborating criminals.

Topics: Corruption, Economies, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2004

Women, Brokerage and Transnational Organized Crime. Empirical Results from the Dutch Organized Crime Monitor


Kleemans, Edward R., Edwin W. Kruisbergen, and Ruud F. Kouwenberg. 2014. “Women, Brokerage and Transnational Organized Crime. Empirical Results from the Dutch Organized Crime Monitor.” Trends in Organized Crime 17 (1-2): 16- 30.

Authors: Edward R. Kleemans, Edwin W. Kruisbergen, Ruud F. Kouwenberg


This paper analyzes the role of women in various types of transnational organized crime and tests the ‘gendered markets’ hypothesis by Zhang et al. (Criminology 45 (3):699-733 2007) for a wide cross-section of 150 cases from the Dutch Organized Crime Monitor. The main information sources for the Dutch Organized Crime Monitor are closed Dutch police investigations into criminal groups, often spanning a period of several years. Following four data sweeps, a wide cross-section of 150 cases was collected about various forms of organized crime (period 1994-2011): ‘traditional’ drug trafficking cases (cocaine, heroin, and cannabis), but also other—less frequently prioritized—phenomena such as synthetic drugs (production and export), human smuggling, human trafficking, and fraud and money laundering. The paper discusses several important theoretical perspectives from the organized crime literature: the gendered markets hypothesis; the social embeddedness of (transnational) organized crime: and the idea of brokerage. Furthermore, empirical data are presented on how often women play a (prominent) role in different types of criminal activities and which roles they play. These findings are related to the ‘gendered markets’ hypothesis and alternative explanations. Further qualitative analysis is presented on the transnational aspects which can be discerned in the studied cases: transnational marriage and transnational relationships; language and mediation; and migration and legal status. Finally, the main conclusions are discussed as well as their theoretical and empirical relevance.

Keywords: women, crime, organized crime, brokerage, social networks, theory



“In 102 cases, women were involved as suspects. Overall, we gained data on 247 women, their roles, and the context of the criminal groups and the criminal activities in which they were involved. This means that11% of all suspects (N= 2295) were female. Many of the criminal activities concerned various forms of ‘transit crime’: international smuggling activities, such as drug trafficking, smuggling illegal immigrants, human trafficking for sexual exploitation, arms trafficking, trafficking in stolen vehicles, and other transnational illegal activities, such as money laundering, fraud, and evasion of taxes (e.g. cigarette smuggling, oil fraud, and Value Added Tax fraud).” (8)

For human trafficking for sexual exploitation, 21% of the suspects were female. This is the largest percentage in the study. (9)

“Women are not absent and women play also other roles than victim roles, but still the picture of ‘men trafficking women’ prevails.” (11)

Topics: Corruption, Economies, Gender, Women, Sexual Violence, Female Perpetrators, Male Perpetrators, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2014

War in the Blood: Sex, Politics and AIDS in Southeast Asia


Beyrer, Chris. 1998. War in the Blood: Sex, Politics and AIDS in Southeast Asia. London: Zed Books.

Author: Chris Beyrer


This engaging and vivid book investigates the course of the HIV epidemic in seven countries of South East Asia: Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam and China’s Yunnan Province. Emphasising the impact of the cultural and political landscapes of these countries on the progress of the disease, the book is the product of both working and travelling in the area. Not merely a commentary on obfuscating government statistics, the author draws upon his encounters with people dealing with the effects of the epidemic and opponents of the regimes of the countries he describes. The epidemic is seen as being vitally linked to the general condition of human rights in the societies.

In the first part of the book the author travels to each country in turn chronicling the different approaches adopted to the epidemic. The second part covers issues involving specific groups at risk - among other topics, women and contraception, prostitution and the traffic in women, HIV and the US military, the Heroin trade, gay sex workers, prisoners, and the work of local activists. The third part of the book looks at policy and the general effect of culture on public health care, stressing the need for local empowerment of populations, and in particular women, to effect social changes that would go hand in hand with improvements in the handling of the HIV epidemic. Both passionate and well-informed, this book is a labour of love that discusses the HIV epidemic while giving an intimate, and ultimately celebratory account of South East Asia and asserting the real possiblity for affirmative action. (Amazon)

Topics: Governance, Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Rights, Human Rights, Sexuality, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

Year: 1998


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