The European Commission has unveiled a five-year strategy to try and eliminate organized crime gangs in the EU that make profits of 139 billion Euros (PhP8.09-Trillion) annually, media recently reported, adding that officials say cocaine is now rife across the 27-nation bloc.
Jerome Hughes, reporting from Brussels for Press TV, said drugs are at the center of the EU’s organized crime network.
Hughes quoted officials as saying that cocaine, mainly imported from Latin America, can now be purchased in every small village, as easily as buying a packet of cigarettes.
The European Commission says crime gangs are running amok, he added.
It is estimated that crime gangs in the EU are making €139bn per annum, and that is a conservative estimate, according to the European Commission.
According to the report, a big part of the business relates to the trafficking of vulnerable people. “If you think all the victims are brought into the EU from poor countries, think again,” it added.
The European Commission says half of all those trafficked in the EU are EU citizens. The majority are women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation. 70% of the criminals behind the trafficking are also EU citizens.
In February, this year alone, EU police seized 25 tons of cocaine at ports. The main markets for this in the EU are Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and France. The illegal activity is mostly coordinated online. Officials say the gangs are becoming more violent.
Also, the criminals are selling fake COVID-19 jabs. In addition, they muscle in on vulnerable businesses and individuals who are stuck for cash during the pandemic. They are sophisticated, according to experts.
The European Commission has just launched a new five-year strategy to try and deal with the scourge. It proposes tougher legislation allowing police to bypass encrypted online platforms. More power to seize money and assets is also on the cards. The problem is similar initiatives announced in the past have failed. PressTV