Cocaine trafficking hubs emerge in West and Central Africa: UN report reveals new findings

Cocaine trafficking hubs emerge in West and Central Africa: UN report reveals new findings

Global cocaine production has reached record levels due to a surge in demand following the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime revealed that coca cultivation rose by 35% between 2020 and 2021 to record levels.

The largest markets for cocaine were found to be in Europe and North America, followed by South and Central America and the Caribbean.

The new findings also indicate that new trafficking hubs have emerged in West and Central Africa.

The Global Report on Cocaine attributed the increase in cocaine production to an expansion in the cultivation of coca bush, along with improvements in converting coca into the Class A powder.

While Africa and Asia’s markets are still limited, Ghada Waly of the UN warned that expansion is a dangerous reality.

The report suggests that the drug markets were disrupted during the pandemic because of international travel being severely reduced.

Findings showed that the use of parcel and courier services increased significantly due to the drop-off in passenger flights.

Demand also dropped off majorly due to the closure of nightclubs and bars during lockdowns.

However, the report also stated that the slump caused by the pandemic has had little impact on longer-term trends.

The global supply of cocaine is at record levels, and there has been a continuing growth in demand, with most regions showing steadily rising numbers of users over the past decade.

The report warns of a rising prevalence of cocaine use.

There has also been a significant increase in the Class A drug being seized in the fast parcel and postal modes in the UK.

Worryingly, the report found an upward trend in the use of crack cocaine in several Western European countries, most notably in Belgium, France, and Spain.

The cocaine market had been expanding in Ukraine before Russia’s invasion last February, which has disrupted the market.

The report found that cocaine supply has risen in South America because criminal groups have taken over territory previously run by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

This has led to competition among groups, thereby increasing production.

The FARC was a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group that operated in Colombia between 1964 and 2017 and attempted to overthrow the country’s government and establish a communist state.

Mexican and Balkan criminal groups have moved closer to the center of production to gain access to supplies, although Colombia still dominates trafficking routes.

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