Fedotov: Cryptocurrencies And The Dark Net Are The Unintended Beneficiaries of Globalization

For 20 years, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has been helping countries make the world safer from drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism. To do this we have a number of tools on our side, including three international drug control conventions, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on human trafficking, migrant smuggling and firearms, the Convention against Corruption and the universal legal instruments against terrorism. Said Mr. Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) during a special event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

He added: “Transnational organized crime groups are exploiting vulnerabilities, crises and enforcement gaps wherever they find them, to expand their reach and diversify their activities. And Terrorism, cybercrime, cryptocurrencies and the dark net are the unintended beneficiaries of globalization.”

Mr. Fedotov noted that globalization had delivered many positive benefits, but the international community was grappling with problems based on asymmetric globalization that had left people behind, undermined trust and created instability. He warned of a growing nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism that encouraged cultural property trafficking and generated funds for terrorists.

He said: “Terrorists have also taken advantage of our interlinked societies and technologies, to operate across borders, to incite and recruit, and to spread violent extremist ideologies online, especially among young people.”

He added: “There is a growing nexus of transnational organized crime and terrorism, with trafficking in cultural property, in collusion with organized crime groups, generating funds for terrorists. Cybercrime has emerged as a truly borderless threat, one that stands alone, and also aids and abets so many other forms of crime. Cryptocurrencies are providing new avenues for moving and laundering criminal proceeds, straining the knowledge and capacities of law enforcement agencies to keep up.”

In his remarks, Mr. Fedotov said: “We also support application of UN standards and norms promoting comprehensive crime prevention strategies and effective, fair and humane criminal justice systems, with a focus on such challenges as violence against women and children.
What these mandates have meant in practice for UNODC, and for the international community more broadly, has evolved in many ways over this time.”

This anniversary represents an opportunity to reflect on some of those changes, and to renew our commitment and strengthen our cooperation for the future.

First and foremost, looking back over the past two decades, it is clear that we operate in an environment that has been profoundly shaped by globalization and modern technologies.

Closing his speech, Mr. Fedotov said: “We coordinate with our counter-terrorism partners to build capacities, including to respond to violent extremism, to implement the Firearms Protocol to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, and to promote the Nelson Mandela Rules to prevent criminals and terrorists from recruiting vulnerable people in prisons.

We are supporting Member States as the General Assembly meets at the end of this month to review the Global Plan of Action against human trafficking, and continues work on developing new global compacts for migration and for refugees.

We have come a long way in these past 20 years. Not so long ago, there was no globally agreed definition of such terrible crimes as trafficking in persons, let alone a legally binding means to fight it.”


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