• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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The changing narrative of hard drug trafficking: Women in the quest


The illicit intake of illegal substances and the abuse of hard drugs among youths and adults are commonly associated with men, but nowadays, the gap seems to be closing and the narrative is changing, particularly when it comes to the trafficking of those harmful drugs and illicit substances. Women are increasing and, unfortunately, joining the dangerous trade.

Although men average more population of drug users globally, the rate of women who engage in merchandising hard drugs is growing rapidly which could be as a result of a couple of factors including the state of the nation’s economy and loss of values.

The economic situation of the country has compelled a lot of people into various activities in order to find some means to survive. Voluntary and involuntary decisions have been made by a lot of women for survival, and trafficking of hard drugs is just one of them.

In as much as some women made the choice to embark on the business due to one reason or the other, some other women happen to be victims of drug trafficking.

Considering the financial success of some top illicit-drug traffickers amidst the economic crisis, it has been convincingly satisfactory for some women to take part in the business of hard-drug smuggling and trafficking irrespective of the dangers involved.

Unemployment adds to the numerous reasons why women get involved in the illegitimate vocation. The involvement of women into the unlawful business of hard drugs appears to be lucrative considering the fact that they are less likely to be suspected for criminal activities.

Illiteracy and low level of education has given some women no other options than to sell hard drugs even though some of them do not consume such substances, because it appears that they have little or no chances of getting a good job in such an economy as Nigeria’s.

The desire to often experience the pleasure of ‘getting high’ has driven some women into addiction and furthermore into trafficking of hard drugs and illicit substances, while some other women get into drug trafficking through their relationships with men.

Speaking on Channels Television, Abdullahi Egba, an analyst, said: “There is a growing concern over the prevalence of drug abuse among youths, however, more disturbing among women in Nigeria.”

He further disclosed that, in a recent report from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), over 40 percent of Nigerian youths engage in drug abuse, with a sizeable number being women.

Hard drugs like cannabis (marijuana/weed), cocaine (coke/crack), methamphetamine (crystal/meth), and narcotics (codeine, tramadol) amongst many others have not only been consumed but also peddled by women in recent times making it a major form of occupation and practical source of income.

According to the 2018 World Drug Report, between 2012 and 2016, some 10percent of the global penitentiary population were women convicted of a drug-related crime.

Women are not only expected to play but fulfil the role of mothers, wives, and housekeepers but when the issue of hard drugs is involved, it becomes a problem not only to them, but almost everyone around them.

Unlike men, who are traditionally expected to bring food and money to the table, their interest with drug trafficking comes from fast and easy money, and the effects are solely responsive, but when women partake in the business of harmful drugs, its effects go beyond personal because they appear to be vulnerable, have stronger feelings of responsibility for their family, and can be easily exploited by organised crime groups.

One easy access women get to willingly traffic hard drugs (cannabis/weed), is by cultivation.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), world drug report 2018, “While research on issues related to women who use drugs has improved in recent years, little consideration has yet been given to understanding the participation of women in the supply side (related to illicit drug crop cultivation, drug production and drug trafficking) of the drug problem.

“Moreover, few studies have addressed women’s contact with the criminal justice system, its consequences and the impact of the participation of women in drug supply on the lives of the women involved. It is generally considered that drug trafficking organisations are predominantly operated by men and that the role played by women in the crime is relatively insignificant compared to that of their male counterparts.”