As one of the most profitable, and highly organized, aspects of transnational crime, drug trafficking organizations have the capabilities and motives to directly challenge state institutions. Most at risk are states that are poor, fragile or emerging from conflict. Drug trafficking operates in an insidious and mutually reinforcing manner with pre-existing vulnerabilities. Weak and fragile states that lack capacity are prime candidates, and once such organizations work their way in, these states are further incapacitated and weakened. Drug trafficking poses a major threat to weak and vulnerable states, and international security more generally. While both producing and transit states are susceptible to capture by drug trafficking organizations, this project will focus on the latter group, which have received much less attention to date. As such, the project will explore the consequences of drug trafficking for countries that are caught in the middle of the drug trade. In so doing, it will contextualize the relationship between transit states and drug trafficking within larger material and ideational structures that shape the international prohibition regime.
To date, background research has been completed, resulting in a research paper. Initial project meetings were held with UNODC officials in June 2012. A second research paper is currently being drafted.