This edition of the Risk Bulletin of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa covers emerging trends in wildlife trafficking and human trafficking. It focuses in particular on how corruption, in many forms, facilitates organized crime and incentivizes decision makers to undermine reforms designed to improve the institutional response to crime.

In Uganda, we explore how seemingly legitimate labour recruitment agencies are behind a rising trend in human-trafficking cases from Uganda and the powerful interests that appear to be undermining attempts to better regulate the industry. Our second story makes use of the Organised Crime Index Africa (published in September) to contextualize trends observed in human trafficking from Uganda, and show how corruption, lack of support for victims and witnesses, and insufficient scrutiny from civil society hinder responses to many forms of organized crime in Uganda.

We also report on recent developments in the so-called ‘secret loans’ scandal, which is currently engulfing Mozambique’s economy and political class. Understanding the role of illicit flows to Mozambique’s ruling party, Frelimo, is vital to understanding how anti-corruption and anti-organized-crime strategies in the country might develop. v

Much as these stories might suggest that tackling corrupt interests in organized crime is an insurmountable challenge, our lead story takes a different perspective. Two major transnational investigations into wildlife- trafficking networks reached their conclusion in 2019, with US and Chinese law-enforcement agencies cooperating with counterparts in Southern and East Africa. An analysis of these two investigations considers how the diverging foreign policy priorities of the US and China have shaped law-enforcement priorities, and the positive role that international law enforcement may play in conducting investigations into transnational networks operating in East and Southern Africa.

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Photo: UN Photo/Santimano – Boane, Mozambique