Poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunity are forcing people in the Pacific to resort to drug and human trafficking businesses.
Acting Minister for Defence, National Security, and Policing, Jone Usamate highlighted this in his address during the Regional Law Enforcement conference this week.
He says transnational organized crimes are now common in the Pacific.
“With the increase in discovery of methamphetamine, cocaine, precursors, clandestine labs are increasingly being discovered showing the growing market that has been established within our region. The illicit trafficking narcotics across our region is just one of the crimes cuts across our borders.”
Usamate also highlighted that several UNODC reports have identified Fiji and other Pacific Island nations as transit points for drug routes, and drug syndicate groups are continually exploiting our maritime borders to import stockpile drugs for their markets in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and North America.
The minister also says that human trafficking is another crime that is on the rise.
He adds that the region seems to be a source, transit, and distribution point for this inhumane crime.
The Minister says this is a crime against humanity that not only crosses international borders but can also be very much present in our communities and different industries.