Illegal trafficking is a problem for every country in the world, but it can take a lot of different forms, which makes it very difficult to fight on an international scale.
In France, illegal trafficking is mostly present under two forms: drugs and prostitution. First, let’s talk about the drug aspect: the most consumed illegal drug is cannabis (80% of consumed drugs), and it especially touches the younger population (12-25), making it tricky to fight. Indeed, the government issues restrictions and punishments about this drug in particular, but cannabis is now consumed by about 4 million people in France (6% of the population) and at the age of 16, French are the ones who use cannabis the most in Europe. Despite more prevention campaigns in schools since the 2000’s, the movement to legalize it is becoming stronger in France as well as is growth in consumption.
Then, there’s another issue about illegal trafficking: prostitution, especially women trafficked from Eastern Europe to France. Indeed, when a lot of Eastern European countries (such as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia…) joined the EU during the last decade, the traffic increased. Young girls from these countries (which haven’t yet reached the same regulations about human trafficking as other European countries) are promised wealthy jobs and amazing lives in France or other countries. When they agree to leave, they are forced to be prostitutes (sometimes even drugged to make them stay) and their identity is stolen. They are forgotten by the system, and it’s really rare to hear about this traffic in the media. However, it is a new form of slavery that keeps growing, and we have to draw attention on it in order for the governments to act towards the end of this.
– by Emma P.
Like many other countries, France has to face the rise of illegal traffics. There are two main sources of illegal traffics in France that the authorities fight with sanction hardening and police officers increase :
– Drugs : experts estimate the 2010 drug market worth to $2.3 billions in France. Cannabis is the first drug consumed, and represents around 154 tons for a value of around $1.1 billion. In addition, 15 tons of cocaine were consumed in 2005, but unfortunately this market has increased as well, grossing more than $900 millions. Heroine traffic has also increased.
To face this traffic, the government has decided to act on the consumers by setting up structures to listen and help them;, but also on the traffickers by creating many « drug squads ». Those brigades are effective, but the traffic seems impossible to stop. On an international scale, France is committed in the struggle against drugs within the United Nations and with the European Union to control the flow of drugs coming from West Africa, Caribbean and Afghanistan.
– The weapons traffic : experts consider that 31.2% of the French people own a weapon of some kind. This is one of the biggest rates in Europe (for instance, only 30.3% of Germans and 6.7% of British possess a weapon). According to recent estimations, 10 millions weapons are circulating, only 4 millions of which are officially legal. France deplores 1800 deaths each year due to weapons, including 400 homicides.
The authorities tried to develop a « cooperation policy » with the inhabitants, to guarantee their safety. Following shootings in French Antilles, this policy was very effective. Of course, controls were also strengthened.
Other illegal traffics exist, such as ivory, art or organs trafficking, but there represent a lesser volume in France.
– by Bastien S.