Organized crime is a problem that has spread all throughout the international community. In the past, national and regional crime organizations were small, isolated and worked independent of other crime organizations. However in the past few decades free trade and high speed telecommunications has made it easier for such groups to operate, therefore resulting in “global Mafiosi” that seem to be working together around the globe. This new development makes it hard for governments and the United Nations to combat international organized crime.
Lesotho, a nation of the African block is particularly concerned with the escalating problem of illicit traffic of drugs and firearms linked with organized crime. Not only does drug trafficking pose a threat to the structure of Lesotho’s society, but also to its government. Profits made from these operations are used to destabilize governments, corrupt officials and influence government decisions. Lesotho is a member of the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.
Furthermore it is an active member of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The nation of Lesotho recognizes that cooperation is the key ingredient in combating organized crime. At present formal extradition agreements exist between Lesotho and South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Taiwan, the USA and Israel. International cooperation is required to successfully prevent and control transnational crime. This is particularly the case with increasing numbers of offenders fleeing from one jurisdiction to another in order to avoid punishment and continue their activities.
Countries must respect and abide by the terms of bilateral and multilateral treaties that they are party to. Organized crime which should be of most concern includes terrorism, illicit arms trade, drug trafficking and economic crime, such as international fraud. Freedom from the fear of crime is important to the international community. There is a strong need for improved cooperation and exchange of data for proper law enforcement. Suppression and prevention of illicit trafficking can be accomplished by adopting an effective method identifying and tracing good that are being smuggled.
In the case of firearms, there should be the establishment of an import and export and in-transit licensing for their transport. States of the African region have many financial difficulties, and are in the category of the least developed nations. Therefore they often lack the necessary resources to combat crime within their nation. Because of this the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders lacks funds to support itself.
Lesotho strongly believes that in the future conferences of organizations such as the Commission of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, should concentrate on problems of developing Asian and African nations. They are vulnerable targets for drug and economic crime cartels. It should be recognized that because these nations lack money they are high risk for succumbing to organized crime. Programs should be developed to aid needy nations. To discuss these issues more conferences on organized crime should be held in the future and all countries should strongly be urged to attend.