Cocaine trade on the rise after COVID-19-related slowdown

“The increase in the global supply of cocaine should put us all on high alertUNODC CEO Ghada Waly said. “Potential for the cocaine market expansion in Africa and Asia is a dangerous reality.”

Supply and demand are sky high

Criminal networks are now diversifying with alarming results in addition to record production levels, beyond pandemic and the related global shutdown, appears to have temporarily impeded illegal trade, UNODC said in its report. Cocaine Global Report 2023.

For the best response, Ms. Wally calling on governments and others to closely examine the report’s findings to determine how this transnational threat can be met with a cross-country response based on awareness raising, prevention and international and regional cooperation.

Penetrating into Africa and Asia

The report details how growing coca by 35% from 2020 to 2021, a record high and Strongest annual gain since 2016.

This increase was the result of both the expansion of coca cultivation and improvements in the conversion of coca bushes into cocaine hydrochloride, the drug then sold on the street.

The increase in supply is consistent with a Strong demand growth, with many areas showing a steady increase in the number of cocaine users over the past decade. While the cocaine market remains fairly concentrated in the Americas and parts of Europe, the report warns that there is a dramatic shift. great expansion potential in Africa and Asia.

Report reviewing the the emergence of new centers cocaine trafficking, note that countries in Southeastern Europe and Africa – especially those in West and Central Africa – increasingly used as key transit area for medicine.

Ports on the North Sea meanwhile, like Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg, there are overshadow the traditional entry points in Spain and Portugal, to transport cocaine to Western Europe. Traffickers are also diversifying their routes in Central America by sending more and more cocaine to Europe, in addition to North America.

Seizures record high

Arrests and seizures have also skyrocketed. The interception of cocaine shipments by law enforcement around the world has recorded seizures reaching a record high of almost 2,000 tons in 2021.

The report reveals a criminal landscape divided into numerous human trafficking networks. Considering the methods of these groups, the report shows new traffickers fill the void and an array of so-called “service providers“Lending of supply chain services “for a fee”.

For example, the demobilization of fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which formerly controlled many Colombiacoca’s growing areas, gave the opportunity for others to step in. This includes new actors, local, FARC veterans and foreign groups from Mexico and Europereport shows.

Follow the trend

Angela Me, Director of UNODC’s Research and Analysis Branch, said the report contains a wealth of more information about the phenomenon.

“With it latest knowledge and trends about routes, modes and networks hired by crime actors,” she said, “I hope that the report will supporting evidence-based strategies stay ahead of future developments in cocaine production, trafficking and use.”

Ms. Me told UN News in an interview ahead of the report’s release that dealing with the rise in demand for cocaine is a major international challenge, so a rethinking of the ways in which countries are concerned is needed. can work together to solve problems.

“Evidence that the cocaine problem is a transatlantic transatlantic problem,” she told us.

Listen to our full in-depth interview below:


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