National Geographic Premieres Second Season Trafficked with Mariana Van Zeller

Emmy®-Nominated Docuseries’ second season premiere on
Thursday 17 February takes Van Zeller
even deeper into the underworld …



Award-winning journalist Mariana Van Zeller taps into her underworld contacts to embed in the world's most illicit smuggling pipelines. Join her in the second season of Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller, premiering on National Geographic (DStv 181, Starsat 220) on Thursdays at 21:00 (CAT) from 17 February 2022, where in each episode, she puts safety on the line to follow one illegal and often dangerous black-market pipeline, from its mysterious source to its final destination. 

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This season, she goes deeper, but the deeper she goes, the darker it gets as she infiltrates the worlds of black-market plastic surgery, romance scams, white supremacy, stolen cars, outlaw motorcycle clubs, marijuana and meth. Armed with National Geographic’s trademark inside access, each episode follows van Zeller as she works her way inside a different black market or global trafficking network where she meets the players and learns the business, all in an effort to understand the inner workings of the world’s multitrillion-dollar shadow economy.

The 10-part second season of Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller offers viewers a mission-driven adventure to places rarely seen, providing an intimate peek behind the curtain to provide a 360-degree view of these poorly understood trafficking networks. Topics this season include van Zeller unveiling the inner workings of romance scams; following a meth superhighway, from a massive cartel-run lab in Sinaloa across the border and into the lives of American users; setting off on a wild journey through California’s black market for weed, which has mushroomed since marijuana was legalised four years ago; following a smuggling route of cars stolen from the US to shipping containers bound for West Africa, where the demand is skyrocketing; going inside the secretive world of outlaw motorcycle gangs, also known as 1% clubs, where her interest is piqued by a string of biker-related violence; and investigating the dark corners of black market plastic surgery, where greed and social media are driving patients toward deadly motel-room operations. 

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Additionally, as America struggles to reckon with its white supremacist past, van Zeller races to expose an underground movement hellbent on an even more violent white supremacist future. It is a movement that trades in ideologies as dangerous as any narcotic or firearm, with one responsible for mass killings around the globe.

“Filming a whole season of Trafficked during a global pandemic was extremely challenging, but there’s been an explosion of black markets over the past year, and I think we all quickly realised that this series has become more relevant than ever,”


said van Zeller.

“With this second season, we have managed to dive even deeper and gain even more access into underworld networks around the world.”


Season one of Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller was a 2021 Gracie Award winner for Best Reporter/Correspondent – Mariana van Zeller and received a 2021 Critics Choice Real TV Award nomination for Best Crime/Justice Show. The series was also recently nominated for a 2021 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary.

Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller is produced for National Geographic by Muck Media. From Muck Media, executive producers are Mariana van Zeller, Darren Foster and Jeff Plunkett. From National Geographic, Bengt Anderson is executive producer, Matt Renner is vice president of Production, and Alan Eyres is senior vice president of Production and Development.


Season 2 Episodes:

Black Market Surgery 

Mariana van Zeller investigates the dark corners of black-market plastic surgery, where sex, greed and social media drive patients toward deadly motel-room operations. In Miami’s discount surgery centers, she uncovers a bombshell connection between felons, greedy doctors and patient deaths. (The program explores various ideals of feminine beauty. Content includes images of body modification and plastic surgery. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Romance Scams 

In 2020 alone, romance scammers exploited Americans out of more than $600M. Mariana’s investigation takes her to Ghana, where she meets a gang of scammers who are relentless in searching for high-income targets on dating apps and social media. The gang shows her their secrets to seduction, how much money they’re making, and the lifestyle that has blossomed alongside the scam’s growing popularity.

Black Market Marijuana

In 2016, California began a massive social experiment: legalized marijuana. But after four years, the black market is three times larger than the legal one. Mariana van Zeller sets off to find out what happened, who’s profiting, and which groups are racing to meet skyrocketing demands. Following an underground supply chain from growers to distributors, she journeys through the wild west of weed. 

Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs

Mariana van Zeller goes inside the secretive world of outlaw motorcycle gangs, also known as 1% clubs, when her interest is piqued by a string of biker-related violence. Undeterred by a strict code of silence, she interviews members of three major clubs, as well as ATF agents and cartel contacts, to learn about the bonds of blood and brotherhood that fuel these groups.


Mariana van Zeller follows a meth superhighway from a massive cartel-run lab in Sinaloa across the border and into the lives of American users. Her guide is a wily, meth-smoking dealer whose smuggling empire stretches from coast to coast. Some get rich, some get high, while others wind up dead. It’s a hellish tour of an overlooked drug crisis that’s burning a hole through America.

White Supremacy

As America struggles to reckon with its white supremacist past, Mariana races to expose an underground movement hellbent on an even more violent white supremacist future. It’s a movement that trades in ideologies as dangerous as any narcotic or firearm — and one responsible for mass killings around the globe. 

Stolen Cars

Over 750,000 cars are stolen each year in the United States — one every 42 seconds — with many of them headed overseas. Despite recent crackdowns, law enforcement agencies warn of an epidemic of stolen cars smuggled to West Africa, where they command higher prices. Mariana chases down the players profiting the most from this surprising transcontinental supply chain.

Cocaine Queens

In the world of cocaine trafficking, the favelas of Rio and the mountains of Colombia are hallowed ground. But, what appears as an investigation into smuggling networks is actually a journey with a more specific focus. It’s not only the drugs that have caught Mariana’s attention. It’s a new breed of narco that is starting to gain power in the shadows: las jefas, lady bosses.

Amazon Mafia

Mariana journeys into the heart of the Amazon rainforest to expose the networks responsible for a slew of recent killings and illegal destruction of the jungle. Along the way, Mariana will attempt to uncover an Amazon mafia profiting from “dirty gold” mining and clandestine logging operations.

Fish Pirates

Few Americans realize that as much as 30% of the seafood we eat has been caught illegally. Mariana goes inside the global hunt for these fish pirates, who make billions each year while destroying our oceans. Her journey will take her from the ports of Boston and Vigo, Spain, to the west coast of Africa, as she seeks to understand how these bad actors operate and why it’s so difficult to stop them.

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