Rwanda and Kenya role in Drug Trafficking in Eastern Hemisphere
Drug trafficking usually refers to the trading and distribution of illegal drugs. The illegal drug trade is a worldwide ongoing business, which constitutes the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs that are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most countries prohibit this kind of trade. Penalties for drug trafficking punishments differ in terms of the quantity of the controlled substance involved in the business. Additionally; drug trafficking naturally can be termed as the possession of an illicit drug in a predetermined quantity that shows without doubt that the drug is going to be sold. The severity of the crime depends on the specific drug, the state and the quantity. It is estimated that the illegal drug trafficking in the black market constitutes eight percent of the world’s trade revenue. This illegal trade attracts massive profits. This is the reason why the business is enormously growing despite the efforts made by states to stop this kind of trade.
The eastern hemisphere can be geographically described as countries on the eastern side of the earth. The three continents that constitute the eastern hemisphere wholly include Asia, Africa and Europe. When the term drug trafficking is mentioned one would tend to quickly think about Latin America, the Caribbean among other countries mostly found in northern and western hemisphere. The eastern hemisphere has quite been forgotten since it is thought drug trafficking is mostly carried out in northern and southern America. Nevertheless, this is not always the case.
Research has shown that typically, illicit drugs move globally from the less developed countries to the developed countries where there is more abuse of drugs. Just as the development of legitimate global trades has been eased by the use of updated international financial systems and market relations, drug traffickers have also taken advantage of the opportunities that have been brought about by the changing macro-economic environment. These drug traffickers have nowadays organized themselves globally in such a way that there are leaders all over the world with the titles like “drug lords” and “war lords” who are charged with the responsibility of bribing the authorities. These drug traffickers put their large profits in financial institution where they earn good investment returns and so strengthening their economic power and secrecy. They have adopted high tech computer and communication technology that has enabled them expand their trade. Drug traffickers are now able to transfer money globally through the electronic system with minimal national controls.
Drug trafficking in the eastern hemisphere has also been seen to expand especially in Africa. Africa and most notably West Africa has become the key center of the global illicit drug trade. Experts have estimated that thirty to fifty metric tonnes of cocaine finds its way through Africa every year.
Cocaine seizure rate in West Africa is two percent compared to the total worldwide cocaine seizure rate of fifty percent. Because of this uncertainty, it is estimated that far more cocaine passes through Africa every year. According to Coletta and Eileen, two hundred and forty metric tonnes of cocaine pass through Africa every year.
West Africa’s illicit drug trade is actually compared to its economic activity. For instance, Guinea-Bissau’s Gross Domestic Product in the year 2010 was about three hundred and eighty four million dollars, or the equivalent of the street value of just six tonnes of cocaine.
Africa’s geographical position makes it to play a very big role in the international illicit drug trade. Furthermore, its nearness to Europe gives it a bigger advantage in this trade. This is because the demand for cocaine in Europe has always skyrocketed in recent years.
In 2006, there were 3.5 million users of cocaine in Europe which rose to 4.5 million in the year 2007. However; the number has been increasing by one million in the subsequent years. Africa’s location makes it easy for cocaine to move from Colombia and Venezuela to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand and other Asian countries. Its central location and lack of proper security measures plus poor infrastructure makes it easier for drugs to move from North America to the eastern hemisphere at large.
West Africa is said to be ‘a springboard’ to the rest of the continent in terms of drug trafficking . Drug trafficking in West Africa is manifested in spoiling weak economies and corrupting people in charge of important sectors of the economy, ranging from the youth in the small developing businesses, military officers and even senior government officials.
The enticing profits that come from illicit drug trade pose a grave threat to security and public health at large in a poor region that at the moment has never faced a serious drug problem. Many West African countries do not have efficient naval forces or coast guards that can largely contain the drugs that are brought in by cartels using water transport from Latin America.
Much cocaine comes through Ghana and Guinea- Bissau. Furthermore, the borders in Africa are insecure; making it easy for heroin from Southeast Asia to pass through Africa. This is made possible because of the hubs in the Middle East Rwanda and Kenya.
In addition, private airplanes can land easily without landings strips or airports. They can just land in an open area of land thus avoiding any unwanted security attention. Asia has also been a center of focus as far as drug trafficking is concerned. About a quarter of heroin that originates from afghan and destined for European markets is believed to pass through three Asian countries.
This trade is largely affecting the social and economic lives of people in a negative way; this includes the spread of HIV AIDS. It is quickly becoming a means of earning income to many people in Asia, including women and children who have lately been reported to be big traffickers of illicit drugs since they easily pass the innocence test.
In Tajikistan, many war widows are reportedly getting involved in drug trafficking in order to support their children. It is notable that eighty percent of the population in Tajikistan lives below the poverty line. People prefer to traffic drugs because they would earn a thousand dollars unlike other jobs that would earn them less than a hundred dollars a month.
This growing trade is the major contributing factor to the rise in crime in Asia given that, sometimes addicts resort to robbery in order to get money for buying these drugs since by nature they are expensive. Drug trafficking from Afghanistan through Central Asia has stretched intensely over the past twenty years.
It is estimated that three quarters of the world’s heroin supply comes from Afghanistan and finds its way to European and Russian markets through central states that is Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. An estimated ninety five percent of heroin seized in Britain, and eighty percent of heroin seized in Europe comes from poppies in Afghanistan and most of it is trafficked across central Asia
Experts estimate that the heroin sold from Afghanistan can be worth up to a hundred billion at the current market levels. While a kilogram of heroin is three hundred dollars in Afghanistan, in Moscow the same kilogram would cost up to thirty thousand dollars. Additionally, the same kilogram could cost about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars in Western Europe.
Opium, which, is used to manufacture heroin, is cultivated in Taliban and even taxed by the government. This in turn contributes to seventy five million dollars of Taliban revenue which is used to finance the wars against opposition forces. Additionally, reports indicate that the revenue funds terrorist activities.
Cultivation and trafficking is a way of life in Afghanistan and to a larger extent a means of survival to some people. Opium poppy cultivation has recently become the basic activity of the rural economy in Afghanistan where farmers depend on the profit made from the sales of their products to cater for their needs. Increasing numbers of impoverished people are willing to risk the harsh legal sentences of drug trafficking since they see opium as their only way to survival.
In Europe the illicit drug trade is also growing, the key partners in the trade are police officers who are expected to contain the illegal trade. Most of the illicit drug trade takes place in northern Europe but more so in Spain. It is in Barrio Chino in Barcelona that drugs like marijuana, Rambla and heroin are traded in plain sight of uniformed police officers. The same business also usually takes place daily in the streets of Puerto Del Sol and Gran through sections of central Madrid while the authorities watch. This is because they are bribed by the large amounts of money that revolve around this trade.
There is evidence that Spain is being overrun and stunned by illegal drugs. The authorities say that the Iberian Peninsula has become a central point where the European narcotics carry out their businesses. Half of the drugs that enter Europe pass through Spain. To showcase the extent to which drug trafficking has spread its wings in Spain, recently, police confiscated a very large amount of cocaine that can be equated to the amount of cocaine seized in the rest of Europe in all, in the year 1987. Three thousand five hundred kilos of cocaine compared to three thousand kilos of the rest of Europe.
Notably, fifteen percent of the drugs passing through Spain are intercepted. The contributing factors to drug trafficking in Europe are; serious drug crackdowns in the United States and Latin America; and low prices of drug in the United States compared to the high prices in Europe.
A kilo of cocaine in the United States costs fifteen dollars while in Europe the same quantity goes for thirty thousand dollars and even fifty five thousand dollars in West Germany. Secondly, language and cultural links to cocaine in the producing region of Latin America helps facilitate the trade. Lastly, its proximity to northern Africa and the Middle East producers of heroin is a factor.
Research shows that Trafficking of drugs to Europe takes place through Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but after the European countries complained, the Dutch government intervened and so the traffickers had to change routes. As a result, Spain soon became the hub. Additionally there are flights from Latin America and Miami that serve a great warehousing point. Drugs are then shipped to northern Europe and some back to America.