What Keeps Mexico’s Drug Traffickers ‘In The Game?’

InSight Crime, 7/2/12

The  study is called “Getting out of the Game: Desistance from Drug Trafficking,” and was written by Howard Campbell and Tobin Hansen,  professors at the University of Texas El Paso and Oregon State  University, respectively. Based on interviews with dozens of former drug  traffickers in El Paso and neighboring Juarez, the authors sought to  examine what keeps a given trafficker in a life of crime, providing insight into how to facilitate such a transition.

Unemployed youth in Mexico, known as “ni-nis” because they neither  work nor are they in school (in Spanish, “ni estudian ni trabajan”), number some 8 million,  and serve as fertile ground for gangs in need of gunmen, lookouts,  and retail drug vendors. Many of the social proposals to target  organized crime has focused on how to reduce this number, and therefore  reduce the number of bodies interested in working for the the nation’s  various drug trafficking organizations.

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