Year
South Sudan
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    South Sudan

    Capital

    Juba

    Population

    11,062,113

    Area

    633,907 km²

    Geography type

    Landlocked

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 11,997.80 million

    GDP per capita

    $1,120.00

    Income group

    Low income

    6.34-0.06

    Criminality Score

    9th of 54 African countries

    3rd of 9 East Africa countries

    Criminal market

    5.300.25

    Human Trafficking

    8.501.50

    Human Smuggling

    5.501.50

    Arms Trafficking

    8.000.00

    Flora Crimes

    7.50-0.50

    Fauna Crimes

    7.000.50

    Non-Renewable Resource Crimes

    8.000.00

    Heroin Trade

    2.000.00

    Cocaine Trade

    1.500.50

    Cannabis Trade

    4.00-1.00

    Synthetic Drug Trade

    1.000.00

    Criminal Actors

    7.38-0.37

    Mafia-Style Groups

    4.50-2.00

    Criminal Networks

    8.000.00

    State-Embedded Actors

    9.000.50

    Foreign Actors

    8.000.00

    1.830.33

    Resilience Score

    52nd of 54 African countries

    8th of 9 East Africa countries

    Political Leadership and Governance

    2.000.50

    Government Transparency and Accountability

    1.000.00

    International Cooperation

    2.001.00

    National Policies and Laws

    3.001.00

    Judicial System and Detention

    2.00-0.50

    Law Enforcement

    2.001.00

    Territorial Integrity

    1.50-0.50

    Anti-Money Laundering

    1.500.50

    Economic Regulatory Capacity

    2.501.00

    Victim and Witness Support

    1.000.00

    Prevention

    1.500.50

    Non-State Actors

    2.00-0.50

    1.8333333333333 7.375 5.3 1.8333333333333 7.375 5.3

    1.830.33

    Resilience Score

    52nd of 54 African countries

    8th of 9 East Africa countries

    Political Leadership and Governance

    2.000.50

    Government Transparency and Accountability

    1.000.00

    International Cooperation

    2.001.00

    National Policies and Laws

    3.001.00

    Judicial System and Detention

    2.00-0.50

    Law Enforcement

    2.001.00

    Territorial Integrity

    1.50-0.50

    Anti-Money Laundering

    1.500.50

    Economic Regulatory Capacity

    2.501.00

    Victim and Witness Support

    1.000.00

    Prevention

    1.500.50

    Non-State Actors

    2.00-0.50

    01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

    People

    South Sudan is a country of origin and destination market for human trafficking for forced labour and sex work. Notably, children are especially vulnerable in South Sudan, evident in the rates of forced child marriage being among the highest in the world. South Sudanese girls and women who originate in the rural parts of the country are trafficked into the hospitality industry in urban centres. Perpetrators involved include both foreign and local businesspeople who recruit trafficked victims from the neighbouring countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Additionally, camps for internally displaced people inside South Sudan are important recruiting grounds for traffickers. Not least of all, state corruption widely facilitates this criminal market.

    South Sudan is a source country for migrants and is located on the smuggling transit route towards North Africa and Europe. It is estimated that South Sudan hosts over 845 000 migrants, often travelling irregularly from the East and Horn of Africa. There is widespread displacement in broader regions, and the legacy of prolonged conflict in the country has meant that smuggling is a well-established practice, with a region-spanning infrastructure. Related to that, smuggling networks are often associated with other forms of crime as well and collaborate in some form or another with state officials.

    Trade

    Despite the implementation of UN and EU arms embargos to stop the flow of weapons into South Sudan, numerous countries from around the world allegedly supply weapons to various local groups. Weapons are also brought in lawfully through China, the EU and US. The ongoing conflict means there is an increasing demand for firearms and high levels of arms smuggling. Notably, in 2017, around 1.3 million weapons were estimated to be in the hands of civilians in the country, or 9.6 firearms per 100 persons.

    Environment

    Illegal logging and charcoal production in South Sudan are increasingly threatening the country’s forests. Notably, illegally harvested teak is trafficked to India. Foreign operators who bribe government officials and military personnel as well as rebels in return for protection drive the illicit teak trade. There are informal arrangements between foreign-owned firms and the local population in the felling and smuggling of timber. Deforestation rates in the country are high, caused by the heavy reliance on charcoal and fuelwood. Furthermore, estimates point to around 80% of felled trees in South Sudan being used for charcoal or firewood. South Sudan is mainly a transit country for wildlife parts, but also a potential source country. The spread of unlicensed firearms has worsened poaching levels, while resources available to those combating the activity are scarce. The country has become a participant in the black market of pangolin scales and meat, facilitated by corrupt border officials. Juba International Airport has also been red-flagged for the trafficking of ivory.

    In South Sudan, illegal gold mining is a common practice among local populations and an estimated half a million people are financially dependent on mining. There are links between mining companies and members of the president’s inner circle, who have used their control of the mineral sector to consolidate its grip on the country’s state revenues. The market is highly susceptible to violent competition. Illicitly mined gold is increasingly being smuggled into the Ugandan and Kenyan market. Since the outbreak of conflict in the country, oil revenues have been diverted to finance the war and this has thwarted hopes that the country would benefit from its massive resource wealth.

    Drugs

    Juba is a transit point for Brazilian heroin moved into Kenya by transnational drug trafficking syndicates. South Sudan does not however have a significant user population for heroin as it is unaffordable to most citizens. Cannabis, on the other hand, is smuggled into South Sudan through border points in Nadapal and Nimule, and is the most profitable and prevalent drug in the nation. In 2017, South Sudan had one of their largest seizures, and the national police have acknowledged a rise in cannabis trafficking and consumption in recent years.

    Conversely, there is little evidence to suggest that structured illegal markets for cocaine and synthetic drugs exist in the country, but there have been sporadic seizures in the country.

    Criminal Actors

    Criminal networks operate across a variety of illicit markets in South Sudan. They are usually well armed and violent. The most prominent – the Toronto Boys Gang and the Mob Gang, are well known and engage in theft and have links to business and political leaders. State-embedded actors are heavily involved in all criminal markets in South Sudan. Abuse of no-bid contracts is widespread, with such contracts often awarded with no control and at inflated prices to companies held by members of the ruling political class. Similarly, oversight over state spending in general is lacking. On the other hand, establishing a company in South Sudan involves an enormous amount of bureaucracy, which becomes a prerequisite for state officials to seeks bribes or acquire undocumented company shares. On a larger scale, state actors in South Sudan are actively involved in poaching and illicit mining activities.

    There is a large number of foreign actors, particularly Kenyans and Ugandans, involved in arms trafficking. In addition, there has been increasing foreign involvement through investment in the oil industry, involving different entities from China, the UK and Malaysia as well as trader networks originating in Kenya, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Foreign nationals are commonly arrested attempting to smuggle wildlife contraband out of the country and a shadowy Eritrean businessperson is said to control much of the illicit business in Juba. In 2018, a senior Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition official blamed the government for operating like a mafia syndicate alongside as many as 14 militia groups who often camouflage as opposition parties. These factions are often in violent conflict with each other for territory and control of resources. Mafia-style groups aligned with rebel and government actors control extractive industries and are involved in illicit economic practices.

    Leadership and governance

    Insecurity in South Sudan remains high due to ethnic unrest, poor inter-state cooperation and lack of infrastructure. The economic crisis and hyperinflation have driven up levels of crime, official large-scale waste, misappropriation and mismanagement have been reported and trust in government is very low. South Sudan ranks among the most fragile states globally and the government cannot provide a good quality of life. South Sudan is reportedly also among the most corrupt countries worldwide. Moreover, the high levels of corruption are likely to deepen the economic crisis in the country. Additionally, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan found that high-ranking government officials were implicated in the supply of heavy military-grade weapons to local militia. South Sudanese elite politicians and members of the military compete to buy homes and invest in Nairobi and Kampala, which serve as second homes and safe havens. Lucrative contracts are often handed to suppliers connected to government officials.

    While Sudan participates in several international conventions such as the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the East African Community (EAC), it has not adopted key transnational crime frameworks, creating an incoherence that leads to misinterpretations and undermines anti-crime efforts. South Sudan was recently removed from the African Union for failing to pay its annual subscription, and the EAC is also threatening to remove the country for the same reason. The lack of formal agreements covering repatriation is one reason why child migrants have been detained without trials. Along with extending the arms embargo on South Sudan, the United Nations Security Council has extended a travel ban and financial sanctions. Although the country has a narrow definition of trafficking in persons, certain paragraphs of its Penal Code, Child Act and the Labour Act criminalize trafficking practices. Furthermore, in December 2019, a Taskforce on Anti-Human Trafficking was created, which makes policy decisions and advises on migration and deportation. The country has a draft National Comprehensive Migration Policy, however the ability of the government to enforce its policies is almost non-existent, due to its lack of political control outside of Juba.

    Criminal justice and security

    The institutional capacity of the justice sector remains low and corruption is widespread. The weak rule of law means that even officials found guilty of corruption are unlikely to face sanctions. Access to justice is poor, and human rights are far from protected. The courts have demonstrated that they are not able to prosecute and punish perpetrators of organized crime and suffer undue political interference. Evidence of crime is not well preserved, and evidence tampering is common. Law enforcement officers receive much criticism from the president and the population for being violent. Over 90% of the police are illiterate, training is woefully lacking, most officers are approaching retirement age and no effort has been made to include women. The police presence in rural areas is limited or absent and many people see the police service as the perpetrators of crime and human-rights abuses. Legal frameworks in Southern Sudan are unclear or absent and residents of the capital pay police to unofficially patrol their neighbourhoods, as the government is unable to pay police members’ salaries.

    Official recognition of the border with Sudan is currently based on the 1956 alignment. There is extensive smuggling especially in the south and through Juba International Airport, and the borders with Uganda and Kenya are especially vulnerable to traffickers. Illicit drugs are often brought into Uganda via Unyama River, a porous border point and, as South Sudan is struggling with a famine, smugglers who are able to bring food are often welcomed.

    Economic and financial environment

    Despite recently criminalizing money laundering, South Sudan has extremely weak financial governance capacity and low anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism awareness. South Sudan has a cash-based economy and foreign exchange bureaus are largely unregulated, which has led to unconfirmed reports of Somali nationals laundering money through them. US dollars are quite popular in South Sudan’s black market, much of it laundered, though economic experts claim the money do not reach the Central Bank. Despite growing international concern around corruption, there is only limited international effort to block the avenues of money laundering. Industry and infrastructure are highly underdeveloped in South Sudan, formal markets are disorganized, property rights are insecure and the informal economy is large. South Sudan lacks the framework to enforce judgements on economic matters and most commercial disputes are solved informally. Inflation rates are high and doing business in South Sudan is extremely difficult. Almost the entire revenue of South Sudan comes from crude oil exports, which have been steadily declining in recent years.

    Civil society and social protection

    Victim and witness support is not available in South Sudan and the social stigma and fear of a punitive legal system prevents many cases from being reported. As of now, no legislation or policies are set in place to prevent victims from being prosecuted for offences they have been compelled to commit. Additionally, law enforcement do not have established mechanisms to aid with the identification of potential victims of trafficking. The government does not provide legal assistance or other mechanisms to victims of organized crime. Thus, South Sudan fails to meet the set requirements for the elimination of trafficking of human beings. The Ministry of Interior established a taskforce on human trafficking and smuggling in December 2019, and the government cooperated with the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission to release more than 300 child soldiers. However, the government recruits and employs child soldiers. While the number of NGOs is growing in South Sudan, their impact is limited, although they have played a significant role in stemming state involvement and orchestration of organized crime. Civil society is often under threat and the opposition continues to be targeted, intimidated and censored. The freedom of the media is highly restricted in South Sudan – at least 10 journalists have been killed since 2014 and the constant conflict only serves to weaken the media. Journalists are often threatened and forced not to cover issues relating to the conflict. The regime often employs intimidation and close surveillance as their tactics, while also censoring print media directly on the printing presses.

    Analyses

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    The criminal markets score is represented by the pyramid base size and the criminal actors score is represented by the pyramid height, on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. The resilience score is represented by the panel height, which can be identified by the side of the panel.