By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Voice for Prisoners, an international organization based in Hong Kong, proposed capacity building, by deploying modern technology, for Bole International Airport, where many narcotics are transferred, sources said.
In the just ended year, 2023, the head of the organization, John Wotherspoon, who is serving in a prison in Hong Kong, said that ten people who originated from Kenya, Denmark, Thailand, South Africa, the Netherlands, Namibia, India and Zimbabwe and were being transported from Addis Ababa to Hong Kong were arrested in connection with drug trafficking, the Weekly Amharic, the Reporter said.
John Wotherspoon explained that the individuals were arrested while transporting drugs by hiding in their body parts and in their luggage.
Information on harmful drugs indicates that the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is the easiest route for drug traffickers of all other airports in the world, the Reporter indicated.
According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Bole International Airport is a major drug transit route from Africa to Europe, Latin America and Asia. According to the 2023 World Narcotics Trafficking Report, made by the institute, 64 of the 165 cocaine traffickers arrested in Brazil had their destination in Addis Ababa.
According to John Wotherspoon, head of Voice for Prisoners, São Paulo, Johannesburg and Addis Ababa are among the top drug trafficking routes in the world.
“We are not blaming the government but asking and begging. People are being arrested for drug trafficking, marriages are being broken, children are being scattered, and innocent people are being thrown into jail for several years,” Wotherspoon said.
He stated that they “are receiving positive responses” in their frequent discussions with the government institutions, and that drug trafficking is still increasing at alarming rate, not decreasing as due steps have not been taken to prevent it.
John Wotherspoon, who says that the problem can be reduced to a certain extent by deploying trained dogs at Bole Airport, further explained that the issue should be worked on with advocacy and attention with government officials. He said that they have information that there are people illegally transporting livestock, money, and prohibited foods at Addis Ababa Airport, but the worst case of drug trafficking should be dealt with firmly.
John Wotherspoon said that many of those arrested for drug trafficking are women, and they are made to carry guns without information. In this regard, he stated that they would try to free those who were arrested without their knowledge but further urged that the control at Bole Airport should be assisted by technology.
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