Uganda ranks 7th in Africa for international organised crime: report

Uganda ranks 7th in Africa for international organised crime: report
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Uganda has been named as a significant hub for organized and international crime, ranking 7th out of 54 African countries, according to a report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The findings, presented during the annual prosecutor's symposium hosted by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, highlight a range of criminal activities that are prevalent in Uganda, posing serious security and humanitarian risks.

The UNODC report reveals that Uganda is a hotbed for various illicit activities, including human trafficking, drug smuggling, arms trafficking, terrorism, and smuggling of counterfeit goods.

These crimes not only endanger the safety of individuals but also have broader implications for regional security and stability.

According to Sharon Lesa Nyambe, Head of the UNODC Office in Uganda, the country has become a focal point for organized crime, contributing to issues such as sexual exploitation, forced begging, boy recruitment for armed conflicts, fraudulent recruitments for work abroad, and the trafficking of arms that escalate terrorism.

"Fighting the ADF menace in Uganda will be hard as long as the nation remains a hub of arms trafficking across the region," Nyambe explained.

Moreover, the report indicates that Uganda's extensive exportation of timber and charcoal is leading to massive deforestation, further complicating efforts to combat organized crime and safeguard the environment.

Mohammed El Munir, the representative of UNICEF in Uganda, attributes the root cause of these criminal activities to the country's high levels of abject poverty.

He argues that poverty creates a fertile ground for criminal syndicates to recruit vulnerable individuals and perpetuate these illegal activities.

"Addressing poverty is key to reducing the prevalence of organized crime in Uganda. When people have access to better economic opportunities, they are less likely to engage in criminal activities," El Munir noted.

The report underscores the urgent need for coordinated efforts to combat organized crime in Uganda.

It calls for increased resources and international collaboration to dismantle criminal networks and address the socio-economic factors that contribute to their persistence.

With Uganda's significant position in the region, tackling these issues effectively is critical to ensuring the safety and security of its citizens and the broader African continent.

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