Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Victoria Martinez




Mexico, violence, narco-trafficking, Juarez, drug, women, NAFTA, economy


This thesis explores the utilization of human life to further the parallel economies of manufacture and narco-trafficking in Mexico. It begins by recalling the impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Mexico’s local economies. Shifts in economic dynamics that resulted from NAFTA internally displaced thousands of impoverished Mexicans, ultimately pushing them into the growing economies of manufacture and narco-trafficking. The manufacture industry and its effects on the common people are examined with a specific focus on Ciudad Juárez, a border city in the state of Chihuahua. The growth of maquiladoras attracted thousands of young women to work, thereby transforming the social dynamics of the city into a violent exploitation of innocent human life. On the other hand, the promise of luxury attracted many Mexicans to the drug trafficking economy. The analysis of literary works from Narcocuentos and the play Lomas de Poleo will aid in exploring the social impacts of these parallel economies of violence.