CRIM2024 Discipline of Criminology and Justice Assignment Sample
Assessment Details and Instructions
Choosing one transnational crime from the list provided below, examine:
A. The nature of this offence, including what it involves, the role played by organised crime
groups in the commission of this offence, and the effects/harms caused by this offence
B. Attempts by authorities to combat this offence and the difficulties and issues experienced by authorities when attempting to combat this offence
C. Possible strategies to more effectively combat this offence.
Select from the following offence types/trades:
- Arms trafficking - Human Trafficking
- Cocaine trade - People smuggling
- Heroin trade - Trade in animals/animal parts
- Money laundering - Maritime piracy
Concentrate on select nations (e.g. two or three countries connected by your chosen offence) or a specific region (e.g. Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, South East Asia) relevant to your chosen offence to focus discussion and maximise opportunities for in-depth analysis.
This study focuses on the impact of the cocaine trade in West Africa. Cocaine trading is a globally proven illegal trade, including the manufacturing, sale, cultivation and distribution of importance, which can be subjected to the law for drug prohibition. It is considered illicit trading of drugs or trafficking of drugs, a black market globally devoted to producing prohibited drugs (Sumnall et al. 2021). Cocaine trade in West Africa is the main focus. All three questions for assignment help are solved depending on the crime type and location.
For narcotics trades, an ideal geographic choice is West Africa. It acts as a centre of mechanical transit for drug traffickers. Its location, specifically Guinea Bissau, with its countless unpopulated archipelagoes and islands, made identifying drugs difficult and reduced transit. The region is considered the most well-developed network of West African crime and smugglers alliances, which led international critics to conclude in 2004 that many traditional African criminal networks were occurring in that specific year (Aning & Pokoo, 2014).
It is believed that when a place has a weak political environment ultimately creates more chances for cocaine trading. In numerous countries, coups d’etat, civil war, and insurgency operations have destroyed the assets of productive national development, human capital, and social infrastructure. They have also caused fluctuations which led to an increase in the number of armed groups working in a specific region and an increase in the outpours of SALW or small arms and light weapons (Vigh, 2019). Fluctuation in North Africa also seeks outpours of much heavier weapons entering the region of Sahel. Similarly, in a case that took place in Mali, fluctuations have always been exploited by drug traffickers to promote their interests.
This case study analyses the effect of cocaine trafficking on regional and national trafficking in West Africa (Aning & Pokoo, 2014). Recently and as stated by the reports, the usage of drugs in this region has been increasing. Experts have also highlighted that the threats to human security by drug trafficking are the reason why policymakers and other institutions are specifically not prepared to respond. The primary issue lies in the prevailing approach to cocaine trafficking in the region of West Africa concentrates on controlling the supply of drugs via lawfully enforced efforts (Vigh, 2019).
The limited focus is placed on the aspects of development and health, which are highly affected due to the overabundant effects of cocaine trafficking, which in the coming time can cause a bigger security threat to the people of West Africa than is presently accepted. The UN Security Council, over the past few years, with time, have discussed the increasing threat produced by cocaine traffickers in Africa and, more lately, in the regions of West Africa (Aning & Pokoo, 2014). Later it will lead to the assumption of numerous essential UN PRSTs or UN Security Council Presidential Statement where the UN Secretary-General was encouraged to believe that the issue of mainstreaming was the foremost issue of drug trafficking as an element of conflict analysis, peacebuilding support, dispute precluding strategy, assessment for integrated missions’, and planning support (Vigh, 2019).
In Africa, drug trafficking has become a matter of serious concern. The increase in the flow of illicit drugs threatens peace and security, public health, good governance and economic growth (Aning & Pokoo, 2014). To combat the issue, the international narcotics control regime focuses on the supply of drugs by enforcing various laws. The Economic Community of the West African States and the United Nations Office for West Africa stated their concern about drugs and related crimes in West Africa. About 30 tons of cocaine and 400 kg of heroin were trafficked in response to which the ECOWAS claimed that drug trafficking is one of the perils of the state (Aning & Pokoo, 2014).
Furthermore, drug trafficking is regarded as a rival of the constitutional system. Thus the ECOWAS and UNODC have taken responsibility for drug trafficking in west Africa. The Praia declarations show a strong political commitment to combat drug trafficking in West Africa (Bisong, 2022). In addition, the UNODC’s response showed efforts in peacebuilding by reducing drug trafficking, thereby bringing in the socio-economic development of Africa.
The regional programme reinforces initiatives at the national and regional levels by focusing on certain sub-programmes (Aning & Pokoo, 2014). These are drug prevention and sound health, justice, illicit trafficking and awareness creation programmes. In addition, the ECOWAS commission is also supported by the UNODC in its potential as a regional leader to safeguard regional ownership in acting as an authority against drug trafficking. Another authority that has taken action against drug trafficking in West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI) is to help implement the regional plan (Chevalier et al. 2019). In addition, WACI aims to build regional capacity by ensuring that no such drug trafficking occurs.
While combatting drug trafficking, the authorities encountered several issues. This is because policies concerning drug users are mainly based on punitive measures. Only severe sentencing prevails for the persons who are convicted the first time. Limited measures are taken to treat prison offenders and support rehabilitation efforts (Popescu, 2018). Studies have shown that repressive drug enforcement measures refrain users from availing of public health services. As a result, the person who cannot avail of the services becomes the victim of severe diseases, including HIV (Okunade & Ogunnubi, 2021). In this respect, situations arise for increasing treatment rather than the imprisonment of drug traffickers. It is not only the youths who become drug traffickers.
To make matters worse, the police of West Africa have also become a part of the heinous crime. Another issue the authority faces is encountering the Ghanaian police officers arrested in September 2012 (Aning & Pokoo, 2014). This is because they were caught transporting 1.5 tons of cannabis priced at 4.3 million UD dollars to the United Kingdom. Moreover, the authorities also faced issues when they found traditional leaders engaged in drug trafficking (Aning & Pokoo, 2014). In West Africa, the government resources and services are limited, which would otherwise have helped the authorities deal with drug trafficking issues.
UNODC collaborates with Brazil to implement the National Operational Plan for combatting drug trafficking and its related crimes (Raineri, 2018). Guinea Bissau, a country in West Africa, has been plagued by drug smugglers that have posed a major threat to the nation's security. To mitigate the issue of drug trafficking, a Training Center of Security Forces was established with the support of Brazil. The main aim of this centre was to make the security forces' capacity more vigilant. This would further help to encounter narcotics and the drug trafficking activity that is carried on in West Africa.
Another strategy to mitigate the issue is the AIRCOP programme which the European Commission supports (Gallien, 2020). This is implemented with the INTERPOL and the WCO with an aim to strengthen intelligence and cooperation within the airports on three continents, Europe, Latin America and West Africa. As most heroin and cocaine traffickers come through airports, a strong vigilance in the airports would help in effective cocaine seizures. In addition, several strategies are formulated by ECOWAS as an obligation of commitment to various international norms of narcotics control (Francis et al. 2019). The earlier drug control measures taken by ECOWAS are resolutions concerning the control and prevention of drug abuse and the establishment of a fund at the regional level for drug control activities.
The police shall be provided adequate training to have the knowledge and skill to investigate and disrupt drug trafficking. This training can be coupled with operational support to help the neighbouring countries in taking stern actions against drug trafficking. For instance, the police of Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste have learned how to give an analysis of the composition of drug packages (Morojele, 2019). The first global conference of INTERPOL on illicit drugs brought together representatives of over 100 countries. These members are educated about the implications of drug trafficking and various criminal activities. In future, it is necessary to organise more such global conferences and educate the members about the impacts of drug trafficking. It is also necessary to strengthen the sanctions on drug traffickers, which in turn will lessen the drug trafficking activity in the nation (Campana, 2020). Moreover, the border security forces also need to be increased as this will help in mitigating the issue. As the trespassers are subjected to strict checking, the chances of criminals entering the country will slowly lessen. The authorities who will be in charge of combating offence will not have to take trouble anymore, as the trespassers will go through scrutiny on the border itself.
It is evident from the report that drug trafficking is a serious issue prevalent in West Africa. The country has faced an exacerbated influx of drugs coming through the desert regions, ports and airports. Moreover, the resources are barely available for the treatment of drug users. Thus various authorities have taken strenuous measures to bring down the intensity of drug trafficking in West Africa. UNODC and ECOWAS have implemented various measures to combat the serious issue of drug control. In doing so, they have faced certain challenges. For instance, they had to deal with police drug abusers who were a part of the drug trafficking team. Moreover, the drug control policies in Africa had to be taken care of as the authorities faced challenges, suitable measures, such as strict border checking, global conferences on drug trafficking and various other norms, to mitigate the issue.
Aning, K., & Pokoo, J. (2014). Understanding the nature and threats of drug trafficking to national and regional security in West Africa. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 3(1). http://doi.org/10.5334/sta.df
Bisong, A. (2022). Invented, invited and instrumentalised spaces: conceptualising non-state actor engagement in regional migration governance in West Africa. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 48(12), 2945-2963. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2021.1972570
Campana, P. (2020). Human smuggling: Structure and mechanisms. Crime and Justice, 49(1), 471-519. doi.org/10.1177/1477370817749179
Chevalier, F. D., Le Clec’h, W., McDew-White, M., Menon, V., Guzman, M. A., Holloway, S. P., ... & Anderson, T. J. (2019). Oxamniquine resistance alleles are widespread in Old World Schistosoma mansoni and predate drug deployment. PLoS pathogens, 15(10), e1007881. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007881
Francis, J. M., Myers, B., Nkosi, S., Petersen Williams, P., Carney, T., Lombard, C., ... & Morojele, N. (2019). The prevalence of religiosity and association between religiosity and alcohol use, other drug use, and risky sexual behaviours among grade 8-10 learners in Western Cape, South Africa. PloS one, 14(2), e0211322. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211322
Gallien, M. (2020). Informal institutions and the regulation of smuggling in North Africa. Perspectives on Politics, 18(2), 492-508. https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-750X(93)90052-B
Okunade, S. K., & Ogunnubi, O. (2021). A “Schengen” agreement in Africa? African agency and the ECOWAS protocol on free movement. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 36(1), 119-137. https://doi.org/10.1080/08865655.2018.1530128
Popescu, T. V. (2018, November). Criminal Aspects of Drug Trafficking. In RAIS Conference Proceedings-The 11th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1571430
Raineri, L. (2018). Human smuggling across Niger: state-sponsored protection rackets and contradictory security imperatives. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 56(1), 63-86. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X17000520
Sumnall, H. R., Montgomery, C., Atkinson, A. M., Gage, S. H., & Boardley, I. D. (2021). Moral disengagement and the harms of cocaine use. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2021.1950126
Vigh, H. (2019). Life in the ant trails: Cocaine and caustic circuits in Bissau. Focaal, 2019(85), 15-25. https://doi.org/10.3167/fcl.2019.850102