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Extortion is a phenomenon that can be understood from various disciplines, such as economics, criminology, the political sciences, and sociology. Each of these fields of knowledge emphasizes either the system or economic models under which extortionists and victims operate, the short- or long-term relationship sought by establishing simple or complex extortion mechanisms, the political relationship between extortionists and victims, or citizens’ perceptions of the institutional framework, which can serve as a gateway for criminal groups to create ties of protection through extortion. This report sheds light on the importance of extortive practices in Latin America. It is based on qualitative research since 2019. The report shows that extortive practices are a regionwide trend, albeit with national, specific characteristics. Although it is primarily a non-violent crime, an increasing tendency—specifically linked to practices against women—should make it a priority for the public security agenda.

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Florida International University

Extortion: The Backbone of Criminal Activity in Latin America



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