CRIMJUST launches a four part-series of webinars on the importance of studying and responding to the illicit drug market through a gender lens

23 September 2020 - The CRIMJUST Global Programme, funded by the European Union under the framework of the "Global Illicit Flows Programme” held a webinar on “Victims and participants: women along the drug supply chain, experiences from Colombia” discussing the role of women in drug production and trafficking. A total of 118 persons registered to attend this webinar from across Latin America and the Caribbean.

UNODC Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, Ms Cristina Albertin, inaugurated the webinar underscoring the importance of including a gender lens into research and policymaking to build effective and comprehensive drug responses. Ms Albertin argued that while criminal environments may be largely male-dominated, women are too often portrayed as a monolithic block of victims, assuming vulnerable subpar roles or involved forcibly and indirectly due to familial ties. She stated that gaps in understanding the complexity of organized crime groups fail to account for the differential relationship and impact of the drug market on women and men and contribute to widening existing inequalities and vulnerabilities.

Her remarks were followed by two separate presentations by experts from the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as well as from the Integrated Illicit Crops Monitoring System (SIMCI). These respectively explored the importance of adopting a gender lens to understand criminal structures and recruitment strategies and the experiences of women (in)directly involved in coca cultivation. While SIMCI specifically presented the unique backgrounds of women involved in coca cultivation shedding light on the reasons driving women’s involvement, UNODC experts completed their presentation with a series of case studies on high profile female criminal leaders.

This is the first in a four-part series of webinars looking at the incorporation of gender considerations into drug policies and responses organized by the CRIMJUST Global Programme. Additional webinars on femicides amid high levels of organized crime, mainstreaming gender-sensitive criminal justice responses to organized crime as well as on corruption and gender along drug trafficking routes are set to take place in the coming weeks.

CRIMJUST is funded by the European Union under the framework of the "Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP)" and by the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). It seeks to enhance law enforcement and judicial counter-narcotic strategies beyond interdiction activities and to foster transnational responses targeting each stage of the drug supply chain.

For more information, please visit:

-  European Union