Human trafficking remains a significant problem in Africa, exploiting vulnerable individuals—children, women, and men—for forced labor as well as prostitution.
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While migrant-smuggling in Libya has been decried for its brutality, international assistance to Libyato counter smuggling while protecting migrantshas actually inflicted further harm to migrants. When smuggling is treated as a serious crime, the more criminal and brutal of actors are encouraged rather than deterred from operating. They merely pass the risk and cost onto migrants by adding elements of trafficking or other abuses. Ending the abuse of migrants in Libya requires stabilizing, securing, and supporting Libya and all who reside there.
Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
African countries are among the world’s most vulnerable to and least prepared for climate change. African citizens prioritize issues that are related to climate change, such as water supply, food shortages, and agriculture. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns have devastated African countries that depend on agriculture. Only about 3 in 10 Africans are fully “climate change literate,” combining awareness of climate change with basic knowledge about its causes and negative effects. Building climate resilience will require commitment and coordination, backed by significant resources and a population that supports prioritizing it.
Drug trafficking is a major transnational threat in Africa that converges with other illicit activities ranging from money laundering to human trafficking and terrorism.
Drug trafficking in West Africa has increased dramatically over the last two decades, with nearly a quarter of all of Europe’s cocaine being trans-shipped through the region at one point. An essential locale in this trafficking was Guinea-Bissau, often called a “narco state.” In reality, however, the trafficking stemmed from a small politico-military elite that worked in conjunction with independent entrepreneurs. The institutional entanglement implied by the term “narco-state” was not there.
Surging demand for ivory and rhino horn, mainly in Asia, has put wild African elephants and rhinoceroses on the path to extinction. More than an environmental tragedy, however, wildlife poaching and trafficking has exacerbated other security threats and led to the co-option of certain African security units. African states need to develop a broad range of law enforcement capabilities to tackle what is effectively a transnational organized crime challenge. Asian and other international partners, meanwhile, must take action to reduce runaway demand for wildlife products.
Mauritania’s security reforms, including training, enhanced mobility, Special Forces, prudent procurement, and community engagement have strengthened its capability to confront violent extremist groups.
African elections in 2020 will be a test against efforts to erode presidential term limits and other democratic checks and balances, with direct consequences for stability on the continent.
This week-long seminar on Countering Transnational Organized Crime is designed to facilitate participants’ engagement in peer learning about tools, techniques, and approaches for effectively countering transnational organized crime in their countries, in the region, and across the continent.
Reversing the escalating violence of militant Islamist groups in the Sahel will require an enhanced security presence coupled with more sustained outreach to local communities.