Research on the role of women in organised crime used to be relatively scarce, but since the end of the 1990s more and more research has been conducted on this particular topic. Through this research it has become apparent that a growing number of women plays an increasingly important role in organised drug-smuggling operations. To understand more about the involvement of women in the drug trade, it is important to study their social networks. We studied the social ties of women who participated in two transnational drug-trafficking networks: one between Curaçao and the Netherlands and the second between Peru and the Netherlands. What makes the comparison between the two groups interesting is that one group is connected to Curaçao (historically connected to the Netherlands) while the other group is connected to Peru (with no historical connections). Women who smuggle drugs between the Netherlands and Curaçao have transnational familial networks through which criminal capital is transmitted and drug trafficking is facilitated. Women who smuggle between Peru and the Netherlands lack these networks but are often connected to intermediaries through lovers and acquaintances.

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Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Erasmus University Rotterdam

van San, M., & Sikkens, E. (2017). Families, lovers, and friends: Women, social networks, and transnational cocaine smuggling from Curaçao and Peru. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 56(3), 343–357. doi:10.1111/hojo.12218