Lack of access to healthcare and medicine fuels many opportunists Reports aimed at filling the gaps Trafficking of medical products in the Sahel indicate. But this imbalance between supply and demand has fatal consequences.
Human Trafficking Bitter Pills
In sub-Saharan Africa, 267,000 deaths annually linked to counterfeit and substandard antimalarial drugsfound in the International Organized Crime Threat Assessment.
Furthermore, the maximum 169,271 linked to counterfeit substandard antibiotics Used to treat severe pneumonia in children.
Trafficking in these products also has a direct economic impact on affected countries.who (WHO) Care of people with counterfeit or substandard medical products To treat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa Costs between $12 million and $44.7 million annually.
605 tons seized
In international operations, between January 2017 and December 2021, more than 605 tonnes of medical products were seized in West Africa. These products typically move through mainstream international trade channels, primarily by sea.
diverted from legitimate supply chains, Products often come from major exporting countries to the Sahel region, including China, Belgium, France, IndiaOthers are manufactured in neighboring states.
Once in West Africa Smugglers carry medical products in buses, cars and trucks to the Sahel, Following existing trafficking routes, to avoid border controls.
Terrorist Groups and Non-State Armed Groups is often associated with illicit trafficking of medical products in the Sahel, but its involvement is limited. These groups impose “taxes” and abuse drugs in the areas they control.
News reports of non-medical drug use by terrorist groups document that former recruits of al-Qaeda branches in Ivory Coast and Boko Haram in Nigeria have been using or attempting to purchase the opioid-like clonazepam (ribotril) since at least. 2016.
At the same time, the UNODC report said the investigation uncovered various parties involved in illegal medical product trade.Traffickers include Pharmaceutical company employees, government employees, law enforcement officers, health agency employees, street vendors.
Efforts against human trafficking
The African Union African Pharmaceutical Harmonization Initiative To improve access to safe and affordable medicines, in 2009 this initiative is part of the framework of the Medicines Manufacturing for Africa Plan. In addition, all Sahel countries, with the exception of Mauritania, have ratified the Convention on the Establishment of African Medicines Agency.
In recognition of these achievements, The UNODC report provided recommendationsAmong them are introduce or amend laws to prevent all related crimesSmuggling, money laundering, corruption, etc.