Human trafficking, poaching, drug smuggling and piracy are generating millions of dollars in illegal revenue for organised crime rings in East African nations, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released Wednesday (September 4th).
According to the report, more than 100,000 people were smuggled out of East African countries in 2012, bringing in about $15 million in revenue for human traffickers. The majority of migrants are from Ethiopia and Somalia en route to Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
“Between 5,600 and 15,400 elephants are poached in Eastern Africa annually, producing between 56 and 154 metric tons of illicit ivory,” the report said. Two-thirds of this ivory, worth $30 million, was destined for Asian markets in 2011.
“The regional drug trade represents another core threat,” the UNODC said. Up to 22 tons of heroin are trafficked through the region annually, with local consumption amounting to $160 million a year.
Pirates in Somalia brought in $150 million in 2011, representing about 15 % of the country’s gross domestic product. So far this year, however, there have been no successful pirate hijackings for ransom in the Somali area.
“This remarkable progress shows that even the largest crime problems can be countered through international co-operation,” the UNODC said.