Recording: Gender and International Drug Trafficking

This webinar examines international drug trafficking routes, empires and networks to show how it is not necessarily a male-dominated market, with women playing varied roles, from couriers to leaders of drug trafficking organisations. These roles are discussed in the webinar to improve our analysis and thinking about international drug trafficking.

Watch the event recording

The drug trade is an extensive illicit market sustaining many criminal groups and mafias. It is represented as a man-only world because of the violence involved; men are deemed to be the decision-makers and market leaders, with male foot soldiers and couriers, whereas women are portrayed as only enjoying ‘the lifestyle’ but not being involved in the business operations. Evidence suggests that this is far from the reality.

This event is part of a five-part series of webinars exploring organised crime and gender, organised by RUSI in collaboration with the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit and the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at the University of Bath.


Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where her research focuses on women, gender and crime/lawbreaking. Jennifer is the author of Drug Mules: Women in the International Cocaine Trade.

Professor Elaine Carey, Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Oakland University in Rochester, US. Elaine is an award-winning Latin American historian and author of Women Drug Traffickers: Mules, Bosses and Organized Crime.

Deborah Bonello, Senior Editor, Latin America at VICE Media Group and author of Narcas. Her journalism focuses on women’s involvement in drugs and criminality.

The discussion was moderated by Professor Felia Allum, Professor of comparative organised crime and corruption in the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at the University of Bath and RUSI Associate Fellow.


Professsor Felia Allum

Senior Associate Fellow | SHOC Network Member - Researcher

View profile


Explore our related content