Latin America / Gender issues

Latin American institutions consider the gender approach essential in fighting organised crime

21 June 2021
Concepto de igualdad entre hombres y mujeres

Gender is one of the keystones of EL PAcCTO. Since its inception, the programme has included this approach in its strategy to strengthen the institutions fighting organised crime in Latin America. In 2020, an interdisciplinary Gender Task Force was created within the programme to further these efforts. This Group is preparing a Gender Strategy, and to define it, we sought the opinion of the programme’s partner institutions in Latin America.

To this end, a questionnaire has been circulated among them in May and June 2021. In total, 88 people participated (66% women and 34% men). They are representatives of 47 institutions (52% justice, 29% police, 17% prisons, and 2% international cooperation) from 14 Latin American countries (mostly from Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil). The following is a summary of the survey results

Gender approach to increase effectiveness against crime 

  • The gender approach is fundamental to the struggle against organised crime.
  • The policies, laws and regulations that govern and guide the fight against organised crime in Latin America incorporate a gender perspective, albeit in a limited manner.
  • Institutions in Latin America have the knowledge and skills to incorporate the gender approach into the struggle against organised crime, although they state that they require more tools to make it effective and operational in practice.
  • There are many significant examples of success stories and good practices incorporating the gender approach in fighting organised crime by Latin American institutions, which have the potential to be replicated in other countries in the region.

Some of the most notable examples mentioned by the respondents included the existence of gender equity and equality policies, national policies to combat organised crime with a gender perspective, national directorates for gender policies, protocols for action and prosecution with a gender perspective, institutional gender committees, laws that make training civil servants in gender issues mandatory, and protection systems for victims and witnesses with a gender perspective, among others.

  • Latin American institutions consider that they need support to incorporate a gender approach and/or strengthen its incorporation in the struggle against organised crime. 
  • Latin American institutions request support from EL PAcCTO to strengthen the gender approach in the fight against organised crime.

Latin American priorities for incorporating the gender approach  

Latin American institutions consider that the issues EL PAcCTO should prioritise in its support for the struggle against organised crime should be: the role of women in criminal organisations (53%), the leadership of women in combatting crime (42%), protecting victims and witnesses (40%), cybercrime (40%), and human trafficking (40%).

The respondents consider that some examples of actions that EL PAcCTO could lead include undertaking diagnostic studies, providing training, advice for the development and/or implementation of standards, regulations, instruments and tools, and the systematisation and exchange of good practices, experiences and replicable examples, among others. 

EL PAcCTO has already begun working in this regard and, from now on, will take into account the opinions of its partner institutions in Latin America in order to design the Gender Strategy. A strategy that will serve to incorporate this priority approach for the European Union in the programme’s activities over the coming months.

Constance Rava

EL PAcCTO Monitoring and Assessment Specialist

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