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Killings hit record high in 2021 as post-lockdown stress grew – UN

Police secure the scene of a mass shooting at a rail yard run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, California, US, on 26th May, 2021.

Vienna, Austria Reuters The number of murders and other intentional killings surged to a record high across the world in 2021, driven in part by the stress and economic pressures of COVID-19 lockdowns, a UN report said on Friday. Around 458,000 people were killed intentionally, higher than the 400,000 to 450,000 recorded every year since […]

Ecuador turns surfeit of seized cocaine into concrete

Workers carry a mix of seized cocaine and coca paste with industrial waste to produce cement slurry to be used in a construction, at a waste treatment plant at an undisclosed location, in Ecuador February 10, 2023.

Quito, EcuadorReuters Huge quantities of seized drugs in Ecuador are presenting the Andean country with an unlikely new construction material: cocaine. Under President Guillermo Lasso, a conservative ex-banker, Ecuador has ramped up efforts to fight gangs who use the country as a transit point for shipping cocaine to the United States and Europe. Workers carry […]

COVID-19 cut known human trafficking, but Ukraine war a risk: UN

New York UN building and logo

Vienna, Austria Reuters The COVID-19 pandemic led to the first drop in the known number of human-trafficking victims in 20 years as trafficking opportunities and policing were reduced, but the Ukraine war has probably now caused a new surge, a UN report said on Tuesday. The number of detected trafficking victims fell 11 per cent […]

Colombia’s potential cocaine production at record high, UN says

Colombia Turbo seized cocaine

Bogota, ColombiaReuters Potential production of cocaine in Colombia and the area sown with coca, the drug’s base ingredient, rose last year to their highest levels in two decades of monitoring, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said on Thursday. Possible output rose 14 per cent to 1,400 metric tons and the area sown […]

Cannabis use has risen with legalisation and COVID lockdowns – UN report

Thailand Bangkok cannabis

Vienna, Austria Reuters Places including US states that have legalised cannabis appear to have increased its regular use, while COVID lockdowns had a similar effect, raising the risk of depression and suicide, a UN report said on Monday. Cannabis has long been the world’s most widely used drug and that use is increasing while the […]

Criminals cash in on rush to buy coronavirus protective gear, UN says

PPE boxes

Vienna, AustriaReuters A rush by countries to buy personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity for criminal groups, which are peddling sub-standard equipment and likely to move on to medicines soon, a UN report said on Wednesday. Criminals have adapted quickly, also running scams where no equipment is supplied at all, […]

Coronavirus pandemic is pushing up the price of illegal drugs, UN says

Afghanistan Poppy field

Vienna, AustriaReuters Coronavirus-related border controls, lockdowns and flight shortages are making illegal drugs more expensive and difficult to obtain around the world, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report published on Thursday. The pandemic is having a mixed effect on drug production in different regions and on smuggling by air, […]

Sex trafficking that starts in South America largely stays there

Bogot√°, ColombiaThomson Reuters Foundation Women and girls in South America are more likely to become victims of sex trafficking inside their own or neighbouring countries than to be trafficked across continents, officials said last week, urging cooperation among regional governments. The sexual exploitation of women and girls remains the most common form of human trafficking […]

Human trafficking worsens in conflict zones as militants deploy slaves – UN

Aleppo Syria

Thomson Reuters Foundation Human trafficking is becoming more “horrific” in conflict zones, where armed groups keep women as sex slaves and use child soldiers to spread fear, the United Nations said on Monday, warning of widespread impunity. From girls forced to wed to boys made to cook and clean, militants are using trafficking as a […]

Home is the deadliest place for women as violence rises, says UN

Thomson Reuters Foundation Home is the most dangerous place for a woman, according to a United Nations study that found the number killed by a partner or relative is rising globally. About 50,000 women were killed worldwide last year by a current or former partner or a family member – equating to 137 per day […]