On 21 April, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime released a report which aims to contribute to the understanding of extortion in an evolving context as pandemic-related mobility restrictions are enforced and lifted in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama. It is said to identify the evolving role of women in gang schemes and dynamics; explores criminal structures in Panama and their relationship with extortion; and highlights trends among extortion practices as they shift to other criminal activities such as large-scale and local trafﬁcking of cannabis and cocaine. In Panama, extortion tends to involve a form of loan sharking – while northern Central American countries, drug dealing and trafﬁcking appear to be the gangs’ alternative strategy given the drop in extortion revenues due to the pandemic.
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