Written by ISS Africa
On the world map, there is no such thing as an ‘ungoverned space,’ bar the two poles and our woefully under-regulated oceans. It is a neat, practical system, where all land is accounted for and all people know where they belong. That’s the theory, at least. The reality is a little different.
A lot different, in fact – especially in parts of Africa, where governance is poor or non-existent, borders are permeable, people hold multiple identities and the illegal can flourish far away from regulation and the rule of law.
It’s not just human trafficking, either. The same networks move cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and guns, and also have connections to various Islamist extremist groups operating in the area. It’s a lucrative trade and enables the establishment of corrupt links with border guards and the military, as well as the purchasing of weapons and communication gear by the traffickers.