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Drug trafficking: growing role of women is a cause for concern

Posted by 498A_Crusader on May 23, 2007

New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) More and more women, including a growing number of college students, are venturing into drug peddling. Some are in search of quick money to augment their lavish lifestyle while some have simply taken over the trade from men.

According to statistics with Delhi Police, 97 women drug traffickers were arrested in the national capital in 2006 as compared to 84 the year before. In 2004, 54 women were caught for the crime.

The figures indicate a sharp increase of over 50 percent in the past two years. Over 30 women drug traffickers have been arrested this year.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Narcotics) A.S. Cheema told IANS: “The continued and persistent involvement of women in drug trafficking is a cause for concern. Their incarceration could have disastrous consequences on the physical and mental health of their families, especially their children.”

Cheema said that drug operators would earlier use women as carriers as they were less likely to arouse suspicion. But now some women, the more independent-minded ones, were taking to it to earn quick money to afford life’s luxuries.

These women belong to the middle class and are also educated, he said. Some take to it as their husbands or men folk are involved in the trade, some to augment the family income and some because they are addicts or their spouse is one.

“Most women in drug trafficking belong to families that have been involved in this trade for years. The women take charge after the men are either arrested or forced to flee,” Cheema added.

Most of the arrested women are part of a larger family based organised drug trade. They usually operate from the relative safety of their homes.

Cheema said most of the women were arrested for smuggling or selling heroin, with the contraband being usually arranged for by the men in the family.

Their customer base is fairly stable and new customers are entertained only through reference from existing customers.

Some women drug addicts are used as lookouts for keeping an eye on police presence and to ferret out information about possible police raids in the area. They are offered free drug doses for their services, he said.

Cheema admitted that Delhi Police lacked the numbers to keep a check on the growing women peddlers or think about their rehabilitation.

He said there were fortunately few cases of children and teenagers being involved in the trade and it was necessary to create awareness about the dangers of drug abuse through television and newspapers.

Last month, Delhi Police arrested a woman drug trafficker with two male accomplices with heroin worth Rs.50 million.

The number of male drug traffickers arrested in 2004 was 1,570. It rose to 1,724 in 2005 and to 1,797 in 2006. This year around 450 male traffickers have been nabbed.


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