Pubdate: Tue, 14 Oct 2003
Source: Accra Daily Mail, The (Ghana)
Copyright: 2003sAccra Daily Mail


The head of the United Nations drug and crime office has reported that
sub-Saharan Africa is the region most impacted by organized crime, and
that outlaws were increasingly turning to high technology.

Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs
and Crime (UNODC) told the General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and
Cultural Committee that his office had recently developed a composite
index of organized crime, combining data on over 10 factors, and then
ran the factors through the computers.

"The results showed that sub-Saharan Africa appeared to be the region
most affected by organized crime, followed by Eastern Europe, Latin
America and the Caribbean," he told the Third Committee last week.

Among the factors UNODC studies, he said, were "perceptions of
organized crime and high-level corruption by business leaders, the
extent of the grey economy, the degree of arms and tobacco smuggling,
levels of human trafficking, car theft and money laundering."

Mr. Costa also told the Committee that criminals too, use advanced
methods. "Modern technology enabled criminals to launder money, commit
large-scale fraud, attack computer systems and disseminate paedophile
material," he said.

Mr. Costa said Asia and the Andean countries had seen a "sizeable
reduction" of opium and coca cultivation, with the exception of
Colombia and Afghanistan.

He also detected a "significant" reduction in cocaine and heroin abuse
in North America and Western Europe but new markets had emerged in
Eastern Europe, Russia and China.
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