Women are present wherever illegal drugs are grown, processed, sold, stored, trafficked, bought, and consumed. However, research has found that women participate to a lesser extent than men and they occupy the most marginal positions in the drug trade. Over the last decade, the number of women imprisoned for drug offenses has risen at a faster rate than it has for men. Many women imprisoned for drug violations are foreign nationals who were “drug mules.” These are people who carry illegal drugs-usually cocaine and heroin-which have been paid for by someone else, across international borders. This includes all methods of concealment, such as swallowing drugs in capsules, strapping the drugs to the body and concealing them in the luggage. The most common method of concealment ...

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