Gender is a cross-cutting issue that forms the backbone of EL PAcCTO’s actions, which is why it is approached from different perspectives: women who are part of criminal organisations or their victims, women who lead the institutions that fight it etc.
The ultimate aim of this approach is to ensure that the public policies promoted by the programme and which address the criminal chain as a whole also include a gender approach, hence the importance of being present in the activities of the programme and the results they pursue.
The following outlines some of the work already done on the topics addressed by the programme. For example, in the fight against human trafficking, a Specialist Multidisciplinary Team has been created by security and justice institutions in Bolivia to fight trafficking, supporting the creation of a Joint Investigation Team between Brazil and Paraguay to fight these crimes. EL PAcCTO has also promoted the creation of the LYNX network of European and Latin American police specialising in the fight against trafficking. Through this network, EL PAcCTO supported the development of a joint police operation between Paraguay and France against human trafficking in 2021.
Regarding the crime of the online abuse of minors, EL PAcCTO has promoted the creation of the ELIPSIA police network specialised in protecting minors on the internet. Given the greater impact of this type of crime on girls and women, this support includes a gender approach. All the Interinstitutional Technical Committees apply a gender perspective in promoting the application of alternatives to prison, both in their orientation and in the different activities.
In the development of prison regulations and legislation, EL PAcCTO has incorporated a gender perspective in its support for the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks such as the 2030 National Penitentiary Policy of Peru to strengthen the fight against organised crime. With regard to working with indigenous communities, EL PAcCTO carried out a study on the impact of organised crime on indigenous communities in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in 2020 and 2021 that included a gender approach and a human rights focus.
Further challenges in 2022
In 2022, a workshop on violence against women and organised crime will be held for all partner institutions of the programme, gender and civil society organisations and regional institutions to strengthen capacities and promote inter-institutional and international dialogue on the subject. MERCOSUR will continue to receive support to design and implement an international protection order for women victims and witnesses of organised transnational crime. In addition, EL PAcCTO is developing specialised training modules for legal practitioners in Latin America that will incorporate a gender approach in the analysis and approach to organised crime threats.
EL PAcCTO has been carrying out different tasks to give visibility to all these actions, including organising a debate space – La hora de EL PAcCTO – in April 2021, to put the leadership of women in the fight against organised crime on the table. It has also prepared and distributed several pieces of communication on gender issues in relation to organised crime on the programme’s social networks and has created a specific section in the newsletter to address this issue called “En clave de género” (“On Gender”).
The gender approach is also very present internally, for example through specific training and the working group on gender that has already designed a specific work plan to improve mainstreaming. In order to strengthen the team’s ability to design activities with a gender perspective, work is also underway on the preparation and application of a practical guide on the subject that includes tools, recommendations and good practices to mainstream gender and also in the development of internal training for those involved.