Newsbriefing – Week of 4 March

In coordination with the National Gendarmerie of Argentina, the Bolivian police arrested in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, an Argentinian drug-trafficker dubbed the “Chapo Guzmán” of South America. The man was reportedly trafficking drugs from Bolivia to Argentina using small planes and he had managed to escape from jail several times with the help of government officials.

In the Venezuelan states of Bolivar and Amazonas, armed groups – including Venezuelan GNB and the Colombian ELN and FARC – have stoked a climate of violence by fighting to control illicit activities such as illegal mining, drug-trafficking and extorsion.

The Africa Centre for Strategic Studies reported that human trafficking is an activity worth around US $13.1 billion per annum in Africa. According to a study of the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, none of the African countries meet the criteria of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) but some of the states are making significant efforts to comply with its standards.

The low prices of coffee in the international market is driving Peruvian farmers to work in coca plantations. A day of work in a coca plantation pays up to $30 compared to $12 in a coffee plantation. This wage discrepancy is partially accountable for the 14% increase in coca cultivation in Peru between 2016 and 2017.

To commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction (EMCDDA) published a motion graphic to explore why gender matters in drug addiction. The graphic highlights that women represent only a fifth of clients in drug treatment although their problems are more complex e.g. higher levels of depression, anxiety, fewer economic resources and social stigma.

On Friday 8, Europol released the outcomes of the operation MISMED 2. As a result of 7 months of joint operations by law enforcement, customs and health regulatory authorities from 16 countries, more than 13 million doses of trafficked medicines worth in excess of €165 million were seized and 435 arrests made.