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Heroin coast: the political economy of the heroin trade along the Indian Ocean seaboard

When: Thursday, 02 August 2018 - Thursday, 02 August 2018
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
WiSER Seminar Room, 6th Floor, Richard Ward Building
Start time:13:00

The Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research and the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South Project at Wits will host this seminar by Simone Haysom.

The Indian Ocean seaboard plays a key role in the world's third largest heroin route out of Afghanistan -- yet until recently its mechanics and geography were poorly understood. Drawing on the Global Initiative against Transnational Crime's 'Heroin Coast' report, this talk provides an analysis of the how the trade has become embedded in political systems along the Indian Ocean coast, arguing that the 'governance' of the heroin trade mirrors the governance system of the country where it operates, and that the control of the trade both shapes and is shaped by local political dynamics. This argument draws on a trend we observe, across the continent, where sharp escalations in the prevalence of organised crime correlate to economic liberalisation and moves to multiparty democracy. In other words, organised crime thrives in democracies and is facilitated by economic growth. The talk also covers attempts to understand the 'impact' of illicit trade, including the public health impact of the drug trade (and the merits, or lack thereof, in the public health responses along the coast); the linkages between murder rates and the drug trade; and the other pressures that organised crime and corruption places on civil society. 

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