United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

In 1997, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was established by uniting the UN Drug Control Programme with the Centre for International Crime Prevention. The Office was established to assist the United Nations in a coordinated and comprehensive response to related concerns such as drug trafficking, global terrorism and political corruption, crime prevention.

The UNODC undertakes research and analysis, offers guidance and technical/financial support to countries in the adoption and implementation of different criminal, drug, terrorist, and corruption-related conventions, and writes necessary legislation to achieve these aims.

The UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) provides support to the Member States in the certification, legislative integration, and implementation of international anti-terrorism legal instruments. The TPB works to:

  • assist in the drawing up and review of national laws to include the legal standards of these legal instruments; 
  • strengthen national criminal justice officials' ability to deliver these guidelines; and 
  • support regional and global criminal law collaboration.


The Office's long-term goal is to better equip governments to deal with drug, crime, terrorist, and corruption-related concerns, to increase knowledge about these issues among official institutions and agencies, and to increase public awareness of these issues internationally, domestically, and locally. The Office receives around 90% of its financing from voluntary contributions, mainly from governments.

Following are the main themes that UNODC deals with: 

  • Alternative Development
  • Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling
  • Money Laundering
  • Organized Crime
  • Anti-corruption
  • Criminal Justice
  • Prison Reform and Crime Prevention
  • Drug Prevention
  • Treatment and Care
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Piracy
  • Terrorism Prevention 

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

The Convention is a lawfully binding agreement that went into effect on September 29, 2003, and it requires States Parties to take a number of actions to combat transnational organized crime. States that adopt the agreement are required to create domestic offenses in order to address the problem, as well as to implement new, broad frameworks for mutual legal aid, extradition, law enforcement cooperation, technical support, and training. By acknowledging the seriousness of the problem that transnational crime poses and obtaining awareness among member states of the need for a joint approach, the Convention marks a significant step forward in dealing with transnational crime. 


Three distinct protocols are included in the Convention:

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Human Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children, attempts to bring together internal crimes investigated and prosecuted by nations. Another purpose of the protocol is to provide complete protection to victims of human trafficking.

The Protocol to Combat Migrant Smuggling by Land, Sea, and Air addresses the growing problem of organized crime groups smuggling people. The treaty intends to combat and prevent transnational smuggling while also encouraging cooperation efforts to improve victim protection.

The Protocol against Illicit Manufacture and Trafficking in Guns, Their Parts, and Components, and Ammunition was adopted to prohibit illicit manufacturing and trafficking in weapons, their parts and components, and ammunition, as well as to offer a cooperation measure. By signing the protocol, the member nations agree to create domestic criminal offenses for illicit ammunition manufacture, as well as provide governmental ammunition licensing and ammunition tracking.

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