COHA: Mexico’s War on Sex Trafficking

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From a report by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs Research Associate Melissa Graham, published October 13, 2010.

Excerpt from the report:

The “War on Drugs” as viewed in Mexico and the U.S. is changing. No longer are President Felipe Calderón, the police, and Mexican military forces fighting just drug trafficking; now they must do battle against the rising trafficking of sex.

Over the past decade there has been a dramatic rise in violence linked to the drug trade within Mexico. Even though Calderón has met with some success in reducing the amount of drugs trafficked across the border through drug seizures, his promise of a country free from cartel violence seems increasingly unlikely. His administration’s inability to effectively control the cartels is increasingly rooted in the fact that the war Calderón thinks he is fighting has expanded.

Mexico’s drug cartels have been at least a step ahead of the Mexican government since Calderón launched his campaign against them. Although some of the top drug lords have been captured and jailed, they can be—and often are—effectively replaced. The capture of several drug lords by military forces has not actually benefitted Calderón’s efforts. In fact, the removal of various cartel leaders has actually led, on some occasions, to the creation of new cartels- the Beltrán Leyva Cartel being but one example. As Calderón has been distracted with drug control he has inadvertently allowed for the growth of human trafficking, a lucrative business left largely unregulated by Mexican law.

Read full report.

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