Forced displacement generated by organized crime is a little-studied and poorly understood phenomenon. Nonetheless, forced displacement is again ubiquitous across Mesoamerica. Three decades after the political turmoil, civil wars and refugee flows of the 1980s, a new wave of displaced persons is sweeping the region. Across El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, the violence of organized criminal groups has produced an epidemic of forcible displacement.
This project analyses the dynamics of this alarming new wave of forced displacement and their implications of scholarship on forced migration and humanitarian and development responses within the region. The project has focused particularly on raising the profile of the displacement that is driven by a range of different types of organised criminal groups in Mesoamerica (but also elsewhere in the region), including street gangs, smuggling syndicates and powerful drug cartels. The research has been presented widely at governmental meetings across the Americas and to local and international media, and contributed to the scaling up of a humanitarian (and policy) response within the region, as well as winning the Times Higher Education (THE) award for Research Project of the Year 2017-18 in the Arts, Humanities and Social Science category.