SAO PAOLO, Brazil — Sao Paulo Guarulhos International airport is the main exit point for drug mules carrying cocaine from South America to the rest of the world. With flight connections to 53 other countries, it is well positioned to supply the increasing global demand for cocaine.
Less than 10 years ago there were only 40 foreign women imprisoned in the state of Sao Paulo. Today there are more than 400, all housed at the Capital Penitentiary for Women.
Many of the women in prison for drug trafficking had never committed a crime previously. They are often destitute and traffickers promise that there is little risk of getting caught.
These women see very little of the real profits of international drug trafficking and, if caught, face long sentences of three to 15 years in a foreign jail, far away from their homes and children. They are entitled to just two phone calls a year.