UNODC trains Law Enforcement Officers on the operational techniques of interdiction in port areas in Benin and Togo

Dakar, March 13, 2017 - Drug trafficking has become a global problem that has been affecting the West African area since the early 2000s. This phenomenon, which is a source of instability, has had a negative impact on the economies of nations and the public health of populations in the region. The seizure of increasing quantities of drugs indicates an upsurge in the activities of drug traffickers. Furthermore, the links between cross-border drug trafficking and terrorist organizations, who fund these activities have also been recognized by law enforcement agencies.

In terms of international trade, about 500 million containers are being transported every year worldwide while almost 90% of the world's freight goes through containers. The control of this considerable volume of goods by sea is therefore a huge challenge, especially in Africa. Due to weak controls at the borders, port areas are being used as gateways by criminal networks for trafficking illegal substances and materials.  In response to this situation, UNODC, in accordance with its mandate, is undertaking technical support activities to counter organized cross-border crimes related to drug trafficking. 

In view of this, a training workshop on operational techniques of interdiction in port areas, intended for personnel involved in the fight against illicit drug trafficking (especially the anti-drug police and the gendarmerie) was held from 13 th - 17 th March 2017 in Cotonou, Benin. A similar training will also be held in Lomé, Togo from 20 th -24 th March 2017. These technical training sessions are being carried out within the framework of the Project "Support to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking, organized crime related to it and drug abuse in West Africa", funded by the European Union  

Law Enforcement Officers from Police and Gendarmerie and Experts in Benin

The "Container Control Programme", a programme of the UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO), aimed at helping governments build sustainable institutions in seaports and dry ports towards minimizing the risk of illegal drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime, will be collaborating with  the "Project to Support ECOWAS Regional Action Plan" through these training sessions to equip law enforcement agencies with the technical tools necessary to combat illicit trafficking in port areas. 

Twenty professionals attended the training sessions in Benin. These developed their capacity and refined their methodology in the inspection of containers. The training sessions included but not limited to: a) Improving risk assessment, profiling and targeting; b) Development of tearing techniques; and c) Implementation of CITES* at the national level. 

The workshop also featured a highly operational component facilitated by three trainers including the UNODC Regional Law Enforcement Expert and other experts from UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

UNODC has been providing technical assistance to West African States for 20 years, through its Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) based in Dakar, Senegal and 10 others offices based in different countries of the region. As a custodian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (CTO) and its Protocols, as well as the three Conventions on International Drug Control, UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in strengthening their National responses, in accordance with their international obligations.

* Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

For more information:

UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020) -  ( French ;  Portuguese)

ECOWAS Support Project

 UNODC-WCO CCP in West and Central Africa