Colombia, 2-5 December 2019 - The underrepresentation of women in criminal justice institutions, as is the case in many countries, has a negative impact on numerous aspects of drug responses. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the framework of the CRIMJUST Project with the support of the "Integrated System for Monitoring Illicit Crops" (SIMCI) took this issue front-on, by implementing a capacity building course for female law enforcement officers and prosecutors in order to enhance women's participation, leadership, empowerment and non-discrimination in a sector that is often dominated by men.
Together with the National Narcotic Police of Colombia, UNODC delivered a five-day training course to strengthen institutional understanding of the technical and chemical processes involved in cocaine manufacturing to 45 participants, all female law enforcement officers and prosecutors from Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa.
The course consisted of sessions focused on cocaine production procedures, including coca cultivation, extraction and crystallization process. As the workshop methodology followed an integrated hands-on approach, the programme also included on-site-visits to an experimental laboratory with exercises for the identification and dismantling of clandestine cocaine laboratories. In this regard, participants underlined the effective structure of the training with sessions designed to apply the theory into practice with interactive and practical exercises.
Additionally, over the course of the five days, a series of discussion sessions were held to allow participants to share their knowledge of key drug trafficking trends affecting their countries, including methodologies, routes and modus operandi. Thus, the training also provided a communication channel to share information between law enforcement and judicial agencies, streamlining procedures to gather forensic evidence and updating investigation techniques to address the latest drug trafficking trends, with a particular focus on strengthening trans-regional cooperation.
CRIMJUST Colombia Programme officer, Diego Quintero, highlighted that "Understanding knowledge in relation the chemical and technical processes involved in cocaine production is imperative to implement and coordinate interregional counter-narcotic strategies addressing the constant evolution of organized criminal groups."
This all-female training is part of CRIMJUST's larger efforts to bridge key gender gaps and promote gender balance components by providing female officials with specialized opportunities and thus promoting the implementation of the Agenda 2030 -Sustainable Development Goal 5 " Achieve gender equality and empower women".
This training was funded by the European Union under the framework of the "Global Illicit Flows Programme" previously known as the "Cocaine Route Programme". CRIMJUST seeks to enhance law enforcement and judicial counter-narcotic strategies beyond interdiction activities and to foster transregional responses targeting each stage of the drug supply chain.
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