UNODC report: trafficking flows/links - small arms, people, drugs, natural resources

21 June 2010

A report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows how organised crime has globalised and turned into one of the world's foremost economic and armed powers. 'The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment' looks at major trafficking flows of drugs, firearms, counterfeit products, stolen natural resources and people (for sex and forced labour), as well as smuggled migrants.

The report makes a number of suggestions on how to deal with the threats posed by the globalisation of crime, including "disrupting the market forces" behind these illicit trades and global responses on the basis of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (also known as the Palermo Convention), which was adopted in 2000.

"When States fail to deliver public services and security, criminals fill the vacuum," said UNDOC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. "Reaching the Millennium Development Goals would be an effective antidote to crime, that in itself is an obstacle to development," he added. He also called for greater attention to criminal justice in peacebuilding and peacekeeping operations. "Since crime creates instability, peace is the best way of containing crime," he said.

Elements of the UNODC report support recommendations made in the "Guidelines for gender mainstreaming for the effective implementation of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA)" which we launched last week with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Regional Disarmament Branch (UNODA/RDB). These include:

UN Programme of Action on small arms

Section II - Preventing, Combating & Eradicating the Illicit Trade in All its Aspects

para 6 – To identify, where applicable, groups and individuals engaged in the illegal manufacture, trade, stockpiling, transfer, possession, as well as financing for acquisition, of illicit small arms and light weapons, and take action under appropriate national laws against such groups and individuals.


  • Focus cooperation discussions on addressing the gender specific security needs of those drawn into trafficking networks through economic or survival necessity (often women, young boys and girls).
  • Collaborate with the social and economic development sector as part of gender-sensitive trafficking prevention strategies.

Preamble Para 7 – Concerned also about the close link between terrorism, organized crime, trafficking in drugs and precious minerals and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and stressing the urgency of international efforts and cooperation aimed at combating this trade simultaneously from both a supply and demand perspective.


  • Consider and articulate the linkage/s between all types of trafficking.
  • Incorporate anecdotal evidence and qualitative data in the formulation of future anti-trafficking policies.
  • Broaden collaboration, consultation and engagement with the social and economic development sector, as a means to address the human security and rights needs of those drawn into trafficking networks as a survival strategy.

The UNODC report is online at:

The Guidelines for gender mainstreaming for the effective implementation of the UN PoA are online at: