The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and, of course, migrants.

Investigation Chapters

Part I: The Emergence of Mexico’s Small Armies*

Mexico and Central America have emerged as one of the most dangerous areas on the planet outside of active war zones. The region is currently confronting unprecedented security challenges from street gangs, the growing presence of sophisticated criminal organizations and endemic corruption at all levels of law enforcement and government. These challenges are not new,…

Part II: Gangs, Deportation and Violence in Central America*

The development of criminal organizations in Central America has been different than in Mexico. The largest organizations trace their roots to the 1980s, when much of the region was engulfed in civil wars. In many ways, those conflicts laid the groundwork for the current wave of violence and criminal activity.

Part III: The Gauntlet*

According to Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) — the only Mexican government entity that has released data on kidnappings of migrants — 9,758 migrants were kidnapped in 33 different “events” between September 2008 and February 2009.1 In a 2011 study the CNDH estimated that 11,333 migrants were kidnapped between April and September of…