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Issue Brief No. 9 Drugs, Crime and Terror: A thriving business

16 April 2011

Narcotics trade is the leading branch in the transnational crime market and the second largest business worldwide. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) the value of the global cocaine market alone is an estimated $88 billion a year. Drug trafficking has an impact on human security as it leads to high levels of addiction and the spread of epidemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Drug trafficking also exacerbates corruption and instability, and thus undermines the authority and capacity of the state and its institutions. Illegal revenues produced by drug trafficking compete with legal economic activities, representing a serious threat to the economic sector.

Drug trafficking has been on the agendas of policy makers for decades. However, the advent of globalization has made it an issue of growing international concern, especially as many illegal groups have merged criminal and terrorist methods. This Issue Brief addresses the emerging trends in drug trafficking and their implications. It concludes with suggestions for a new approach to deal with this threat.

To read the whole report see the PDF on the right.

Experts on this report

Director of the Strategic Futures Program

Erik Frinking

Erik Frinking is the Director of the Strategic Futures Program at HCSS. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Leiden University.

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Strategic Analyst

Marjolein de Ridder

Marjolein de Ridder is a strategic analyst at HCSS. She holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Leuven and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Leiden University and the Clingendael Institute.