Latin America’s illicit trade-fuelled violence can be stemmed by cooperation

April 08, 2021

Violence in Latin America is an endemic issue. Of the 20 countries with the highest rates of homicide globally, 17 are in Latin America. A staggering 40% of the world's murders happen in the region each year despite it only accounting for 9% of the global population. Many of the criminal gangs operating in the region are fuelled and funded by profits from illicit trade activity. 

As part of its latest interview series ‘Collaborating Against Illicit Trade in Latin America’, STOP: ILLEGAL is looking to better understand the many ways that illicit trade affects the region and what can be done to stop the issue. 

To find out more about the proliferation of illegal and illicit activity in Latin America, the Executive Director of the Latin America Anti-Piracy and Intellectual Property Consulting (LAAPIP), Francisco Escutia, sat down with former US diplomat and globally renowned anti-illicit trade expert David M. Luna. 

In his 20 years spent as a United States Government Official, and now as an anti-illicit special advisor, Mr. Luna has worked with over 75 countries across numerous international organizations and forums. He has also helped to coordinate a wide range of diplomatic initiatives and public-private partnerships that have had a real and lasting impact on the drive towards ending illicit trade.

Watch below to hear how profits from a constantly diversifying range of illicit activities are helping criminal organisations increase their control on societies and reign of violence across Latin America, as well as the multi-disciplinary response that is needed to stop them.

  • Click here to watch the first part of this series “Collaborating Against Illicit Trade in Latin America,” featuring an interview with PMI's Alain Vermaut.
  • Click here to watch the third part of this series, featuring an interview with Crime Stoppers' Alejo Campos.
  • Click here to watch the fourth part of this series, featuring a conversation between Alejo Campos and Werner Ovalle, Guatemala's Head of Customs.

Written by STOP: ILLEGAL

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