The Guardian reported on 6th December that 2 gang members who ran a so-called “county line” drug network have been convicted of human trafficking in the first case of its kind. They had pleaded guilty to trafficking a 19-year-old woman, who was forced to transport drugs from London to Swansea. It is believed to be the first time police have successfully used powers under the Modern Slavery Act to target members of city gangs, who use a phone line to facilitate their supply of Class A drugs into county or coastal towns. Their victim, from London, was contacted on social media before being lured into a car and driven to Swansea and her mobile phone was destroyed.
Article by visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London on the new Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) that, he argues, went practically unnoticed in the West as much of the focus was on the current turmoil in the Middle East. He says that questions remain over its role and teeth, and if it is just a political tool wielded by the Saudis against the Iranians? He says it is obvious that some major Muslim nations are missing from the coalition (Iran, Iraq and Syria) leading to fears that it is merely an anti-Shia and ‘Sunni bloc’.
The European Court of Auditors has published a report (Special Report 19/2017) which states that important weaknesses and loopholes indicate that EU customs controls are not being applied effectively, and this has an adverse effect on EU finances. Goods entering EU Member States from outside the EU are subject to customs controls before they are released for free circulation within the EU. However, importers can deliberately reduce or evade customs duty liability by, for example, undervaluing their goods, declaring a false country of origin or shifting to a product classification with a lower duty rate. The auditors examined whether the Commission and the Member States had designed robust controls on imports. They visited the customs authorities of 5 Member States: Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania and the UK. They found serious weaknesses indicating that there are shortcomings in the legal framework, as well as ineffective implementation of customs controls on imports. This adversely affects the financial interests of the EU.