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Explaining Women’s offending: Drug Use and Drug Dealing

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Week 10 seminar: Explaining women’s offending: drug use and drug dealing


  1. Philippines:
  • Filipino women drug trafficking
  • A lot of women in poverty, survival of family- resort to selling drugs to fund for family
  • Targeted to become drug mules, 63% caught are female
  • Not just a sensational case, its serious as many people caught up in this and big chance women are sole breadwinner of family and are a mother so will leave children motherless
  • Others argue poverty of women Is not an excuse as it’s a choice whether to drug traffic
  • Death sentence under Chinese law can be sentenced for carrying drugs of 50 grams

  1. Michaella, Peru and the drugs run:
  • Ibiza worker goes to Peru to engage in drugs trafficking
  • Peru government want to be seen to cracking down on drug cultivation and drug gangs
  • Drug mules filling up countries prisons
  • 67,000 people in Peru prisons, 3000 drug offences and at least 700 of them are women
  • Feminisation of drug offences is a phenomenon been happening in recent months
  • Bringing drugs from South America to Europe- everyday arrest people
  • Image that Ibiza and drugs go hand in hand- but drugs are taken everywhere, its just that in Ibiza every night is a Saturday night 7 day a week
  • Supposedly kidnapped and taken to South America, Peru and sent to prison
  • Everyone who felt compassionate turned into not caring and it’s her fault

SO533 Women and Drugs seminar sheet

Fleetwood reading

  1. What myths and realities exist around drug mules?
  • How does the media portray this?
  • Frame is as a female crime- feminisation of drug trafficking when actually its mainly men
  • Victimisation- interview families, didn’t do it on purpose as if they had no decision making in the process, victim of this crime
  • Framing it in victim sense- focus on women even though numbers are small
  • Is this problematic? Suggest not being capable of committing crime and making a decision
  • Shocked that women commit crime
  • Perceive it to be more female crime rather than men trafficking and the men behind it
  • Focus more on the drug mules in prison rather than culprits behind it, erasing men from the picture
  • Bringing up women’s economic status
  • Women portrayed as unlikely to know/ coerced into it: They are normally aware- not coerced
  • Women innocent and vulnerable whereas men know and are stronger and can handle it
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Reality is that most are men
  • Money driven- deprivation/poverty
  • Women are presented are coerced and vulnerable- not aware
  • 70% of men engage in drug mules
  • Myth: more women, Reality: more men
  • We don’t know much about trafficking- only people who get caught
  • Women from the global south as engaging in drug mules- high deprivation

  1. What gendered elements do you see emerging from the motivations outlined?
  • Men not seen as providing for family but women seen as doing it to provide for their children
  • Women trying to better their life and find love- do it for love/romantic relationships/desire to please the partner
  • Discrepancy between male and female- man telling her what to do, coerced by men: violence
  • Men seen as doing it for themselves, women doing it for others
  • Women to better their lives

  1. Outline how the boundaries between victim/offender might be blurred in these cases.
  • boundaries between victim and offender might be blurred as chose to do it but also pressure into doing it- how much pressure is seen as an excuse of committing a crime e.g. economic distress, boyfriend
  • Victim of wider society if you suffer from deprivation and turn to drug trafficking as a form of survival- so could also be seen as an offender

Jacobs and Miller reading

  1. What gender differences exist between male and female dealers (as outlined in the article)?
  2. How is gender rendered evident in the arrest avoidance strategies outlined by the authors?
  3. How do the authors link their work to the notion of patriarchy?

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