10 March 2017 - Drug trafficking is a global business that generates huge profits. The illicit financial flows that sustain this business, undermine the economies of Member States, heighten perceived and actual risks to direct foreign investment and the confidence of international development efforts. Heroin trafficking on the Southern Route - a collection of illegal trafficking flows south from Afghanistan - also creates a permissive environment for other organized crime, drives corruption and is also believed to be a key source of funding for the Taliban which poses a threat to regional security and stability.
In this regard, representatives from the Triangular Initiative (TI) countries - Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan - recently got together for the first time with representatives from Africa and Indian Ocean states - Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania - the United Arab Emirates, and Colombia, to share experiences and best practices at the inter-regional level on how to detect, investigate and disrupt the methods used by transnational organized crime groups to finance their activities.
This workshop, entitled "Understanding and disrupting illicit financial flows associated with the Southern Route for opiate trafficking," was convened in Zanzibar, Tanzania in the past weeks. The outcomes of this event strengthen both UNODC's ongoing technical assistance activities and the work of its Southern Route and Paris Pact initiatives.
The event was attended by 65 experts on financial investigation from law enforcement agencies, Financial Intelligence Units, prosecuting authorities, customs agencies, central banks and Ministries of Foreign Affairs. During the four day event, topics for discussion included: lessons from investigating cocaine trafficking networks; the drugs-terrorism nexus; developing and retaining financial investigation experts; multi-commodity networks (namely, cocaine and heroin); asset recovery networks; enhancing national anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) risk assessments; and, strategic planning for the financial disruption of organized crime networks.
In the margins of the workshop a number of operational planning meetings took place and experts also identified where information-sharing agreements were required to be signed as a priority.
At the workshop's closing, experts recommended that a similar meeting should be held every six months to update current money laundering threats, new methods for financial disruption of organized crime networks and priorities for technical assistance.
The event was delivered with a One-UN approach by experts from UNODC's Global and Regional Programmes and Country Offices as part of UNODC's efforts to bring the countries in these regions together to develop strategies and build cooperation in countering drugs, crime and terrorism.