This report examines the characteristics of the heroin trade off the East African coast and highlights the criminal governance systems that facilitate drug trafficking along these routes.

In recent years, the volume of heroin shipped from Afghanistan along a network of maritime routes in East and southern Africa appears to have increased considerably. Most of this heroin is destined for Western markets, but there is a spin-off trade for local consumption. An integrated regional criminal market has developed, both shaping and shaped by political developments in the region. Africa is now experiencing the sharpest increase in heroin use worldwide and a spectrum of criminal networks and political elites in East and southern Africa are substantially enmeshed in the trade. This report focuses on the characteristics of the heroin trade in the region and how it has become embedded in the societies along this route. It also highlights the features of the criminal governance systems that facilitate drug trafficking along this coastal route.

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The heroin coast

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Authors

Simone Haysom

Simone Haysom is a Senior Analyst with the Global Initiative with expertise in corruption and organised crime, and almost a decade of experience conducting qualitative fieldwork in challenging environments.

Between 2010 and 2013, she worked for the Overseas Development Institute in London, researching urban displacement in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, and humanitarian policy in conflict zones. Before joining the GI, she worked as a freelance consultant, researching issues related to conflict, development and organised crime for organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Institute for Security Studies, and the University of Cape Town. She is the author of The Last Words of Rowan du Preez: Murder and Conspiracy on the Cape Flats, published by Jonathan Ball, a non-fiction account of a murder case, conspiracy allegation and Commission of Inquiry into policing in a poor and marginalised neighbourhood in Cape Town. She has a Mphil in Geography (Environment and Development) from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Scholar and last year was a Visiting Academic at the School of African Studies, at the University of Oxford.

In 2019, she will be researching the role of foreign organised crime groups in Africa.

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Peter Gastrow

Peter Gastrow studied economics and law in South Africa and worked in the office of the Attorney General before establishing his own legal practice as an advocate of the Supreme Court. He was a member of the South African parliament, served on the National Peace Committee, and chaired the transitional government structure responsible for providing safety and stability during the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994. After the 1994 elections, he became special adviser to the Minister for Safety and Security to assist with the transformation of South Africa’s police agencies. Between 1998 and 2009 he was the Cape Town director of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), an independent policy research institute. During 1999 and 2000 he served on the South African delegation at the two-year negotiation process in Vienna that led to the adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. In 2009 he joined the International Peace Institute (IPI) in New York as a Senior Fellow and Director of Programs, focusing on transnational organized crime. He has served on a number of UN Expert Groups, on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Organized Crime, and was appointed by the Kenyan government as vice chairman of their National Task Force on Police Reform. While based in New York he was involved in establishing the ‘Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime’, which has become an independent initiative aimed at reshaping thinking, strategies and responses to international organized crime. He is based in Cape Town and has published widely on issues relating to organized crime, peace and conflict, transition, governance, and policing.

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Mark Shaw

Mark is the Director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Mark is also a Senior Associate of the LSE International Drug Policy Unit, (LSE US Centre). He previously held the National Research Foundation Professor of Justice and Security at the University of Cape Town, Department of Criminology.

Mark worked for ten years at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), including as Inter-regional Advisor, Chief of the Criminal Justice Reform Unit and with the Global Programme against Transnational Organised Crime, where he lead projects and provided technical assistance to national governments, bilateral donors and international organisations in Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, West Africa, the Sahel and Southern Africa, on security sector and criminal justice reform, and countering transnational threats.

A South African national, before joining the UN, Mark held a number of positions in government and civil society where he worked on issues of public safety and urban violence in the post-apartheid transition.

He holds a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and has published widely on organised crime, security and justice reform issues.

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