Trading sex for cosmetic surgery in Mexico`s narco capital
International desk || shiningbd
The western Mexican state of Sinaloa is home to the country's most powerful and bloody drug cartel. The money it generates has left its imprint on the relationships between narcos and young women - and fuelled a local obsession with plastic surgery.
On the desk in her clinic in the city of Culiacan, Dr Rafaela Martinez Terrazas has a stack of applications from potential clients - women wanting surgery. Most of them ask for procedures associated with what has become known as the "narco-aesthetic".
"A smaller, defined waist… Wider hips with bigger buttocks… And if we're talking breasts, they're generally large," says Martinez.
A woman with this hyper-feminised, exaggerated silhouette is often referred to as la buchona in Mexico - especially if she has a taste for flashy, designer goods and has a narco lover.
"The average age of my patients is between 30 and 40. But very often much younger women come - even minors under 18," says the doctor.
"They compete with each other - who has the best body, or the tiniest waist."
The women and teenagers might come for a consultation with their mothers or friends. Others arrive with a man, or alone.
I explain to them that after a while he won't be their boyfriend any more, but their body will be theirs for the rest of their lives
"Often they come with a boyfriend who pays for the surgery. And I have various gentlemen who call me and say, 'Hey, doctor - I'm going to send you a girl to operate on.'
"One guy rang me and said, 'One of my girls is coming to see you. Now doctor, you know what I like. Don't take any notice of what she says - that's what I'm paying you for,'" Martinez says.
"I told him to sort it out with her, because when the patient's in my operating theatre, she will make the decisions."