The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
Authorities in Guatemala estimate criminals make around $61 million a year from extortion, a figure that illustrates the extent to which this crime impacts businesses and families.
Violence perpetrated by "mara" street gangs and drug trafficking groups in Central America undermines the state and leads to high homicide rates, forced recruitment and forced displacement -- an impact comparable to that of an armed conflict.
Guatemala's Congress is analyzing an initiative to target the human smugglers known as "coyotes," as political pressure in the region builds to tackle the unprecedented numbers of child migrants trying to enter the US.
Authorities in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras and Guatemala have announced drops in their homicide rates of over 20 and 10 points, respectively. What has been responsible for these reported reductions in violence, and are they sustainable?
The United States estimates that 60,000 children from Central America's Northern Triangle countries will enter the country without legal papers this year. US President Barack Obama has declared a crisis and has requested $3.7 billion to alleviate it. Why are more children leaving than before? Is Central America now more violent? Are there new laws in the United States that are attracting them? The answer is no. The real answers are given by a Salvadoran coyote, among others.
The Guatemala government said that 99 percent of the country's private security guards are working illegally,as efforts to regulate the booming private security sector -- which has been accused of everything from extrajudicial killings to criminal ties -- falls flat.
The governments of Mexico and Guatemala have announced a new border program to protect migrants crossing into Mexico from Central America, as both countries attempt to combat the exploitation and mistreatment of migrants by the region's criminal groups.
Intelligence reports obtained by the media in Honduras show how a captured drug trafficker and cocaine thief from Guatemala operated with the complicity of Honduran officials, highlighting the importance of Honduras in Central American drug operations.
The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC)'s most recent report on the global narcotics trade has placed a heavy emphasis on the illegal use of precursor chemicals in drug production, reflecting changing tendencies in regional drug production and trafficking and efforts to control the trade.
Violence from organized crime groups is forcibly displacing hundreds of thousands of people in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Stories of individuals having to flee their homes are rife, and recounted across society from the stylish cafes of the wealthy elite to the dusty pulperias (corner stores) in remote and humble neighborhoods. Few lives remain untouched by this epidemic of forced dislocation sweeping the region.