Mexico ranks first on organized crime
Mexican soldiers patrol during an operation against alleged members of organized crime - Photo: Rashide Frias/AFP

Mexico ranks first on organized crime

Mexico City
Inder Bugarin
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The Organized Crime Index Africa 2019 includes human and arms trafficking, human smuggling, and flora and fauna crimes in which Mexico is ranked over other 64 countries on civil war or with serious security threats

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Nature is exploited past the point of no return, fauna is exposed to unscrupulous poachers; citizens are victims of abuse and extreme violence, while the police, customs offices, and the military are accomplices to criminal groups, granting them concessions, supplying weapons, and tolerating drug trafficking.

Although the damage caused by organized crime in Africa is vast and deep, no criminal market in that continent is bigger than Mexico’s, according to a study of the program funded by the European Union to Enhance Africa’s Response to Transnational Organized Crime (ENACT).

The Index of Organized Crime in Africa assesses Mexico with a score, from lower to higher impact, of 8.25 out of 10, with which it is located in first place regarding criminal markets, an index made of 10 illicit activities, arms and drug trafficking among them, as well as crimes related to non-renewable resources, flora, and fauna.

In the area of illicit commercialization of synthetic drugs, Mexico's score is 10/10, while in the dossier of cocaine and human trafficking, the score is 9.5 and 9, respectively.


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ENACT project is implemented in collaboration with Interpol and the Institute of Studies for Security (ISS) with headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa.

The 2019 edition includes 65 countries, 11 of them non-African, such as Mexico, Canada, Japan, Colombia, El Salvador, and the Philippines, selected with scientific means to show a diverse geographical and ethnic mosaic.


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In addition to evaluating the different criminal markets, the study takes into consideration the criminal actors (drug cartels, trafficking networks, state, and foreign actors), and the responsiveness of the State.

Considering criminal markets and the influence of criminal actors, Mexico is third place of the general index on criminality, behind Colombia and Nigeria, and before the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Ivory Coast.


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“Most [criminally] vulnerable countries in Africa face or have experimented recent instability or civil wars, or serious security threats,” details the document. Such is the case of Libya, a State fragmented by a civil war in which both governments are in direct confrontation, both with “close military links.” Regarding resilience or response capacities against crime, an index made of 12 key concepts, such as legal framework, transparency, and regulatory and economic framework, Mexico is on 29th place, with a score of 4.33/10.


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With a better score. The African countries with better scores are Cape Verde, Mauritius, Morocco, Botswana, Senegal, and Ethiopia, with scores of 6.54 and 6, whereas at the bottom of the scale are Somalia, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

In this area, the best figures for Mexico are registered in international cooperation, legislation, and national policies, while the worst results are in politic leadership and governance, help to victims, prevention and territorial integrity; the latter with a score of 3/10, half of the score obtained by Eritrea, Zimbabwe, and Angola.


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