Strange Trade tells the compelling stories of Mary, a Liberian drug courier with a college education, and Pauline, a Ugandan wife, mother, and drug cartel boss.
A leading expert on women and organized crime, Asale Angel-Ajani spent years interviewing these women in Italy's notorious Rebibbia Prison—and gained unprecedented access into the narcotics trade. Herself the daughter of a drug trafficker, Angel-Ajani brings a wrenching, deeply personal perspective to the account of these women's lives, and offers a nuanced understanding of the global context within which African women are entering the drug trade in ever-increasing numbers.
Strange Trade follows Pauline and Mary as they traverse three continents, survive wars, poverty, and shattered families, secure drug shipments, and commit murder. Angel-Ajani paints rich, intimate, and profoundly surprising portraits without glamorizing, sanitizing, or offering judgment. The result is an unvarnished journey into a world that, until now, has remained hidden; and a glimpse into the motives that led these women to risk—and ultimately lose—everything.