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Issue 78 | September 22, 2015

A quick and easy update of the latest UNODC and international drugs and crime news. Can't read this newsletter? View it online here


Poster from new awareness raising campaign on migrant smuggling in Mexico and Central America. Photo: UNODCNew campaign draws attention to plight of smuggled migrants in Mexico & Central America

UNODC's Mexico Office recently launched a new regional awareness raising campaign entitled 'Smuggling of migrants: #adeadlybusiness'. It highlights the way this criminal activity undermines the integrity of countries and communities, and costs thousands of people their lives every year. This complex crime generates billions of dollars in profit for smugglers who operate through networks that cross continents by land, sea and air.

Photo: Central Narcotics Bureau, Singapore; University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany; UNODC. Please note that the products (pills and bathsalt) shown in the photo are simulated.Different approaches to a multi-faceted problem: the legal response to psychoactive substances

New psychoactive substances (NPS) that could pose serious risks to public health and safety - and which are designed to bypass national and international laws - continue to be sold on the synthetic drugs market as 'legal' alternatives to internationally controlled drugs. The international community have made use of different approaches that reflect the complexity of establishing an appropriate legal framework to control NPS.

Photo: UNODCWomen's participation boosted in port control activities

Recently, the UNODC-World Customs Organization Container Control Programme (CCP) launched its Women's Network Initiative at a meeting in Vienna, in order to enhance the professionalism and core leadership of female officials at the country level, and thus to increase women's participation in the Programme. The meeting brought together CCP staff to discuss how to implement the initiative within a culturally sensitive framework.

Photo: UNODCUNODC, OSCE develop strategies to reduce drug demand and drug supply to youth

UNODC, through its Deputy Executive Director, addressed a high-level conference aimed at enhancing the mechanisms to stem the increasing spread of illicit drugs amongst young people, organized under the Serbian Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The two-day event was held at the Hofburg palace in Vienna.

Regional Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in West and Central Africa. Photo: UNODCUNODC launches strategy against human trafficking and migrant smuggling in West and Central Africa

UNODC recently launched its Regional Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in West and Central Africa. With these two regions considered points of origin, transit and destination for victims of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, the new Regional Strategy aims to assist the affected countries in dismantling the criminal networks while at the same time protecting the victims of these crimes.

Somali Prison Survey Report. Photo: UNODCSurvey of maritime pirates spotlights poverty motive, threat of world's navies

A recently released  survey  of prison inmates convicted of maritime piracy has named poverty as one of the driving reasons for their criminal actions. Conducted by UNODC in collaboration with the NGO Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), the informal survey questioned 66 maritime pirates at prisons in Somaliland, Puntland, and the Seychelles. The survey included sections on the pirates' motivation, the perception of threats, piracy deterrence and life after prison.

Photo: 2014 Bolivia Coca Survey2014 Bolivia Survey reports decline in coca cultivation for fourth year in a row

In 2014, coca bush cultivation declined 11 per cent in Bolivia compared to the previous year, according to the latest  Coca Crop Monitoring Survey launched in August in La Paz by UNODC and the country's Government. In this period the surface under cultivation declined from 23,000 hectares (ha) to 20,400 ha. The surface under coca cultivation in 2014 is the lowest since UNODC began its monitoring survey in 2003.

International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes. Photo: UNODCUNODC's crime classification: a key tool against criminal activities worldwide

When people need to talk about crime at the international level, there is a multitude of terms and concepts which are hard to compare, and which prevent a common understanding and measurement of criminal activities. Language is only part of the problem (for example, the Spanish term robo can be translated into English both as  robbery or  theft). The differences in legal definitions and statistical categories are even more sensitive.

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