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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

A New Agenda for Policing: Understanding the Heroin Trade in Eastern Africa

Organised Crime
Margarita Dimova
School of Oriental and African Studies
Margarita Dimova
School of Oriental and African Studies

Eastern Africa is emerging as a key region on the map of transnational drug trade. The typically intra-regional flows of indigenous substances are now complemented and complicated by extended networks of global transshipment of hard drugs. This paper will examine heroin trade to, from, and within the region by focusing on the Kenyan port city of Mombasa as a key entrepôt site.

Based on ethnographic data, I will analyse the organisation of local and transnational policing institutions vis-à-vis the particular modi operandi of contemporary drug smuggling and dealing. Containment endeavours will also be examined against the backdrop of pre-existing formal and informal relationships among distributors, users, local communities, border control and security organs, as well as other figures of officialdom. The aim is to formulate a set of functional supply suppression strategies that take into account often concealed dynamics and stakeholders in the drug trade.
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