The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
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.
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.
Honduras authorities detained two Mexican pilots as they attempted to take off from a commercial airport with the help of a "mafia" involving airport staff, according to the air force, indicating how official corruption can undermine attempts to halt the flow of illicit air traffic.
Honduras has created a new National Migration Institute after firing all personnel from the directorate formerly in charge of migratory affairs for allegedly facilitating human trafficking, showing unusual government resolve to root out official corruption and collaboration with organized crime.
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.
Recent reports have identified indigenous groups in Honduras as some of the most affected by the expansion of drug trafficking operations, illustrating the debilitating effects criminal migration and weak law enforcement have on one of the region's most vulnerable populations.
The US State Department has lauded efforts to combat human trafficking in Chile and Honduras -- two countries that face vastly different security challenges but that have come to similar conclusions on how best to take on human trafficking networks.
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.