The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime – PEOPLE AND FORESTS AT RISK Organized crime, trafficking in persons and deforestation in Chihuahua, Mexico
The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), with generous funding from the United States (US) Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), conducted research on the Mexican forestry sector in 2018 and 2019 to identify links between organized crime, trafficking in persons and deforestation.
The linkages between environmental degradation and human trafficking have pre- viously been explored. However, there is a lack of previous detailed research that examines the nature and mechanisms connecting organized crime, environmental degradation and human trafficking for labour exploitation, or that identifies clear intervention points for specific sectors.
Labour issues in the logging industry have received little attention. In frontier logging zones, there are human-trafficking risk factors, such as displacement, cor- ruption and organized criminal activity. There is also trafficking in illicit goods, such as illegally mined minerals and wildlife products. Workers in illicit industries, such as illegal logging, are inherently at greater risk of human trafficking for labour exploitation as they cannot turn to the authorities for help, and their employers operate out of sight of law enforcement.
To address this gap, the GI-TOC examined the links between organized crime, human trafficking and environmental degradation in the context of active deforestation.