Understanding Women’s Involvement in Drug Trade: The Stories of Gabi and Sonia


  • Kamilla Haugen


War on Drugs, Drug Policies, Mass Incarceration, Female Criminality, Motherhood, Poverty, Abuse


The War on Drugs has been largely ineffective in Latin America and has led to a range of unintended consequences such as mass incarceration, corruption, political destabilization, and violence. In recent years, there has been an increasing concern for the high incarceration rate of Latin American women as a consequence of harsh drug policies. Women involved in drug trafficking are usually involved in the riskiest jobs of the operation and are thus more likely to be caught. This has caused the incarceration rates for women to rise significantly and disproportionately to those for men. This dramatic increase makes it clear that there is an urgent need for research on female criminality, a subject sparsely mentioned in the academic world.  To add to the research on female criminality, this paper aims to answer why women in Mexico participate in drug trade by exploring the stories of two women who were previously involved in drug trade in Mexico. The results reveal that motherhood, poverty, and abuse are the prominent factors in Mexican women’s engagement in drug trade. This paper emphasises the urgent need for more research on female criminality as it is becoming a growing concern.