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September 27, 2017

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Globalization aids transnat'l crime

UNITED NATIONS -- "The same forces of globalization—openness in commerce, travel and communications — that have created unprecedented wealth have also unleashed massive opportunities for organized crime." That's the verdict from the U.N. top official on drugs and crime.

In a stinging report, the U.N. Crime Czar Antonio Maria Costa adds that while "in the past the problem was mostly national (mafia, cartels, triads) now as a result of globalization, it poses a threat to international security."

The Report "Crime and Instability" by the U.N.'s Office on Drugs and Crime goes beyond the usual suspects and makes a connection between the criminal players and the geography of their transit operations. Costa stresses, that if you superimpose a map of conflicts and then view narcotics traffic routes, "it is no coincidence that the intersections of crime and instability are the troubled regions where the United Nations is called upon to keep the peace."

So while Columbia still remains a major cocaine producer, the major drug traffic routes go through Central America and Mexico towards the USA and increasingly Venezuela going towards Western Europe. Equally Afghanistan proves the principal global nexus of opium production with the narcotics routes running like a freeway through Iran, Turkey and the Balkans into the lucrative European markets.

What is less apparent and something the U.N. is stressing more is that offbeat places, nearly totally forgotten by the world, have emerged a medium grade players. West African states, beset by instability and violence come to mind. Guinea Bissau a tiny impoverished land beset by long term political violence turns out to be a major drug traffic point between South America and then transiting to Europe.

Why? Well look at the geography. Then add chronic chaos and corruption and you have a recipe for trouble. A U.N. official warned, "drug trafficking and organized crime remain a significant challenge for stability in Guinea-Bissau and the sub-region."

Concerning Africa, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed, "Criminal networks are very skilled at taking advantage of institutional weakness on the ground."

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