Countering Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit trafficking and Illicit Drug Trafficking

The goal of this Sub-Programme is to assist Member States to develop the necessary capacity to effectively address transnational organized crime and the illicit trafficking of humans and drugs. The Eastern African region is exposed to illicit drugs entering the region, destined for the local market, onward transport to West Africa and trans-shipment to markets in Europe and around the world. Human trafficking includes the forced movement of people both within and from outside of the region. Transnational organized crime also covers a wide and varied range of other criminal activity. Wildlife crime is a growing problem in East Africa. The illegal trade of poached animal objects, especially ivory and rhinoceros horn is resulting in the devastation and endangerment of animal populations.

The trade in environmental resources also poses a significant challenge, damaging biodiversity and critically impacting the natural environment. Illegal logging and the international trade in illegally logged timber is one such example. Illegal logging contributes to deforestation and serious long-term environmental damage, endangering sustainable development in some of the poorest countries in the East African region. The trade in firearms has also become a major organized crime challenge for the East African region. The unregulated trade in these deadly commodities is also further linked to other forms of organized crime such as piracy, animal poaching and the drug trade.

In the digital age the East African region is also facing a rise in modern forms of transnational organized crime such as cyber crime. UNODC's Global Programme on Cybercrime aims to support Member States to prevent and combat cybercrime in a holistic manner, through the delivery of crime prevention and criminal justice technical support, based on UNODC assessment protocols and technical assistance tools. This global UNODC programme is now focusing on the East African region.

Maritime security poses unique challenges for the East African region, given the importance of the Indian Ocean to regional trade, and the long and porous coastline shared by numerous East African states.  More than 420 million shipping containers move around the globe each year, accounting for 90 percent of international trade. Only 2 per cent of these containers are inspected, creating opportunities for organized crime syndicates and terrorist organizations to use them for criminal purposes. To assist Member States to combat the illegal use of containers, UNODC, together with the World Customs Organization has developed the Container Control Programme (CCP).

The last decade has also seen a surge in piracy and hijackings off the Horn of Africa, affecting coastal states in the East African region and all states reliant on Indian Ocean shipping routes.