The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) and México Evalúa will document extortion dynamics in industrial and business communities in Tijuana, Baja California. 

  • In Baja California, extortion calls have increased by 20 per cent during the first months of 2022.
  •  The aim of the project is to document experiences, responses and measures taken – or not – by the authorities to prevent and counter extortion.
  • This is part of the GI-TOC’s ongoing work understanding the criminal market for extortion, finding solutions and strengthening community resilience to this crime.

The project ‘Victimization of private companies in Mexico: Extortion in Tijuana, Baja California’, sponsored by the Center for International Private Enterprise and in coordination with the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, will research extortion dynamics that threaten the city’s industrial and business communities, including shopkeepers and the informal sector, to understand how they respond to extortion and mobilize to counter it.

Working with the business community in Tijuana – Mexico’s most populated municipality – will enable us to generate unique data for a thorough and accurate diagnosis of the extortion problem and criminal protection rackets in Mexico, which could be applied abroad.

‘It is likely that extortion as a tool of criminal governance will spread and become entrenched, if it is not addressed immediately. Businesses the world over are the first to be affected and debilitated by it. The project in Tijuana will be an important and necessary step in collectivizing voices and action against this deeply pervasive crime.’  Mark Shaw, Director, GI-TOC

‘Extortion and protection rackets are silent crimes in Mexico: although we know they are common and widespread, people are too afraid to report them to the authorities. Political–criminal networks support extortion so citizens do not trust their representatives. Extortion is a crucial tool for criminal governance and a threat to active citizenship participation. Our project in Tijuana will provide crucial qualitative research about extortion processes and shall help civil society and public authorities design tools to prevent and respond to this crime.’ Edna Jaime, General director México Evalúa

México Evalúa will conduct field research and will collect qualitative and quantitative data by engaging with entrepreneurs and representatives of different chambers of commerce and industries. The research will include views from vulnerable victims such as shopkeepers and merchants, and workers in the informal or non-registered sector.

Active engagement with affected communities and government institutions is necessary to address such an entrenched issue. Civil society must be connected with law enforcement to develop appropriate responses at the municipal, national and regional levels. Since May 2019, the GI-TOC has fostered a network of multisectoral regional stakeholders and community members. Based on discussions and inputs from this network, the GI-TOC has published extensively on extortion dynamics in Central America and beyond, and how they relate with other criminal markets.

The GI-TOC will support México Evalúa through its initiatives Building Coalitions Against Extortion in Central America, the Network of Experts Against Extortion and the Resilience Fund, which focused on extortion in its 2021 Fellowship. The GI-TOC will broadcast the project’s findings to an international audience, with the help of its worldwide network.

Find out more:

For further questions, please contact Ana Castro (GI-TOC) at or Romain Le Cour Grandmaison (México Evalúa) at

About the Global Initiative

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime is a network of professionals working on the front lines of the fight against the illicit economy and criminal actors. Through a network of global civil society observatories on the illicit economy, we monitor evolving trends and work to build the evidence basis for policy action, disseminate the expertise of our Network and catalyze multisectoral and holistic responses across a range of crime types. With the Global Initiative’s Resilience Fund, we support community activists and local NGOs working in areas where crime governance is critically undermining people’s safety, security, and life chances.

About México Evalúa

México Evalúa is a Mexican think tank and analysis center that focuses on the evaluation and monitoring of government operations to raise the quality of their results. It supports public policy improvement processes in Mexico at the federal, state and local levels by generating and/or reviewing evidence and formulating recommendations. Its mission is to evaluate reality to improve decision making.

About the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

CIPE is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy and the global NGO affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Currently supporting more than 200 programmes in over 80 countries, CIPE’s on-the-ground activities are aimed at helping develop sustainable private sectors, maintaining viable market economies and supporting democracy.

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