Drug trafficking in the Pacific



Publication Details

Hawksley, C. (2011). Drug trafficking in the Pacific. In A. Cullen & S. Murray (Eds.), The Globalization of World Politics: Case Studies from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific (pp. 65-67). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.


This case study examines the organized trafficking of drugs into the Pacific region. The Pacific is small in population but massive in area. Relative to the size of states, there are significanl movement of drugs in the region. The flow is generally from the developing to the developed world for heroin and cOCc1ine, but the ecstasy and amphetamine market is more mixed, with manufacture in Europe, South East Asia and Pacific Island states. Wilh over 5,000 vessels sailing through the region everyday, ssearching each shipping container is impossible. In Australia, for example, five ports offload containers, with Melbourne alone handling more than 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) over the past year (Baird Maritime 2010). Few are actually searched (due to the cost) so authorities are already hampered. Transshipment through the Pacific islands attracts less suspicion than shipments direct from source areas, but tbe relatively small capacity that developing states possess means that Australia and New Zealand have an interest in developing the customs and law enforcement capabilities of Pacific island states. Despite current positive efforts, however, concerns remain over the presence of transnational criminal organizations in the Pacific.

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