An Analysis of Thai Women’s Roles and Involvement in Cross-Border International Drug Trafficking
There has already been a large amount of Western research done exploring women’s pathways to prison, but this paper will focus solely on women from Southeast Asia, and more specifically, Thai women. Lives of convicted women are usually characterised by childhood/adulthood victimisation, mental health issues, male influence/control, and economic marginalisation. In the past decade, the number of women prisoners in Southeast Asian countries has significantly increased while the majority of these women are incarcerated for drug-related offences.
The widespread illegal drug trade and harsh criminal punishment handed down for drug offenders in the region are the major cause for this rise in female imprisonment. Although there is an extensive range of Western research exploring women’s pathways to offending, research in a Non-Western context, including studies on women imprisoned for drug trafficking, is sparse. Using life history interviews with Thai women imprisoned in Cambodia for international cross border drug trafficking, this paper uses a narrative life history approach to explore the circumstances propelling them into prison. This paper is based on the study report on “Vulnerabilities, Victimisation, Romance and Indulgence: Thai Women’s Pathways to Prison in Cambodia for International Cross Border Drug Trafficking” conducted by the Thailand Institute of Justice and Griffith University. While the full report of this study outlines four distinct pathways leading women to prison, this paper highlights another set of information describing women’s roles in the international cross border drug trafficking offence including their backgrounds, male influence and patterns of criminal activities.
De Coster, S., Heimer,K., & Cumley, S. R. (2013) Gender and Theories of Delinquency. In: Cullen, F. T. & Wilcox, P. (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of
criminological theory. Oxford University Press, New York.
Fleetwood, J. (2014). Drug mules: Women in the international cocaine trade. Houndmills. Palgrave MacMillan.
Fleetwood, J., & Haas, N.U. (2011). Gendering the agenda: Women drug mules in resolution 52/1 of the commission of narcotic drugs at the united nations. Drugs Alcohol Today 11 (4), 194–203.
Havanon, N., Jeradechakul, P., Wathanotai, T., Paungsawad, G., & Sintunava, J. (2012). Testimonies of women convicted of drug-related offenses. Bangkok: Office of the Affairs under the Royal Initiatives of HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha.
Jeffries, S., & Chuenurah, C. (2016). Gender and imprisonment in Thailand: Exploring the trends and understanding the drivers. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 45, 75–102.
Jeffries, S., & Chuenurah, C. (2019). Vulnerabilities, victimisation, romance and indulgence: Thai women's pathways to prison in Cambodia for international cross border drug trafficking. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 56, 39-52.
Kensy, J., Stengel, C., Nougier, M., & Birgin, R. (2012). Drug policy and women: addressing the negative consequences of harmful drug control. International Drug Policy Consortium, London.
McGloin, J. M. & and Dipietro, S. (2013). Girls, friends and delinquency. In: Cullen, F. T. & Wilcox, P. (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of criminological theory.Oxford University Press, New York.
Stengel, C., & Fleetwood, J. (2014). Developing drug policy: gender matters. Swansea University, Global Drug Policy Observatory.
Sudbury, J. (2005). Mules, yardies and other folk devils: Mapping cross border imprisonment in Britain. In: Sudbury, J. (Ed.), Global lockdown: Race, gender, and the prison industrial complex.Routledge, London.
Unlu, A., & Ekici, B. (2012). The extent to which demographic characteristics determine international drug couriers' profiles: A cross-sectional study of Istanbul. Trends Organ. Crime 15 (4), 296–312.
Copyright (c) 2019 National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The article published and information contained in this journal such as text, graphics, logos and images is copyrighted by and proprietary to the National Research Council of Thailand.
The article will be published under a CC-BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org). This license means that anyone may freely read, download, distribute and make the article available to the public (in printed and electronic form), provided that the author and the journal as the source are acknowledged, whereas no commercial use is allowed and the work may not be altered, transformed or serve as the basis for a derivative work.