Illicit Trade of Small Weapons

Contrary to trafficking of dangerous commodities such as narcotics, small arms always commence their life illegally. The shadow markets are created through corruption, stockpile management and battlefield seizure which cause diversion from legal trade to the illicit markets (Cranna, 2004). One contributing factor to the illicit trade is the black market which permits transfers which do not comply with international or national laws. In such cases, there exists no official consent or control as far as trade regulations are concerned.
Several factors contribute to the creation of shadow markets some of which include illegal manufacture and modifications, theft, illegal transfers and sales from the primary to secondary sources via illegal brokers, diversion from surpluses where armory manufacturing companies tend to dispose of their unwanted productions and find these markets viable disposal zones. The global demand for small arms has increased due to socio-economic disparities, the culture of insecurity where individuals purchase small arms for self defense, political grievances and the establishment of criminal enterprises. However, evidence shows that strategies that limit the availability of small arms are capable of reducing lethal violence (Goldstein, 2008).
When the demand for small arms is stronger, then the illicit supply is curtailed but still, individuals who are highly motivated will seek illicit weapons even in the height of hiked prices. In other contexts, states may be devoid of the resources or the political will to effectively enforce regulation on illicit supply of small arms. On the extreme, suppliers of these weapons push them in to the market in spite of all the enforcements aimed at alleviating the effects of this trade. 
The illegal trade of small arms has myriad impacts at the global level. It has fueled armed conflicts hence causing insecurity (such as the case of rebels). The presence of these illegal arms does not cause conflicts but instead fuel their magnitude this hinders formulation of conflict resolution strategies. The easy availability of small weapons may hamper the chances of employing non-violent solutions to conflicts which is capable of breeding a spiral of insecurity mimicking on lower echelon interstate races.
The civilian implications for this insecurity are discouraging. Small arms may be used to kill, intimidate, rape, coerce and forceful eviction of people to flee their homes (Keynes, 2002). While in the event of this, most of those killed or injured are men, children and women tend to suffer disproportionately. People who flee their homes in attempt to evade the conflict-prone zones may end up turning into refugees or internally displaced, there is no safety in these areas as they risk armed threats.
Human development is impeded under such cases. Intensified conflicts do not only threaten human security but can greatly hamper development activities since it is very difficult to initiate development work in dangerous settings during and even after long periods of conflict. Combatants will always destroy valuable property as they terrorize the society hence throwing development in the reverse in what can be termed as scorched earth policy. Development can be sabotaged decades after their original purpose has been withdrawn.
On the other hand, small arms have been used in crime related activities such as street armed robberies in which they are used to intimidate, threaten or kill should there be any resistance from the victims. Crime prone areas are again a great threat to human security this shows the cyclic nature of the effect of proliferation of small arms in state.
At the national level, there are several economic concerns for states.  States which experience continuous conflicts will scare away investors. Conflicts are expensive in terms of money and resources, disruptive and eruptive as far as labor management and human capital are concerned. They constitute huge shocks to economies of states, thus undermining prosperity and impede economic development. They may lead to inflation due to pushing of prices hence reducing peoples living standards. Quelling conflict in the affected zones is another huge financial engagement for states as this will involve hiking of taxes and hence interfering with the general economic flow (Gilpin, 2006). For instance, tourism industry is heavily affected by conflicts in states tourists always seek safer havens to conduct their visits. Insecurity serves to scare tourists which in turn affects an economy especially those that bank on tourism as their main form of foreign exchange. Furthermore, perpetual conflicts will tint a countrys image at both national and international levels. A perfect example is the case of Somalia.
Conflicts put huge burdens on the Health Sector in that the casualties of war are directly handled by the health sector (Keynes, 2002). The government will have to inject surplus resources to treat victims of war and to initiate feeding programs in hospitals. This means suppressing other sectors of the economy in order to meet the urgency of such insurgencies. An indirect consequence is that instabilities may be inherent and an eventual collapse of the economy. Shadow markets intercept the economic histories of most states, dictating its pace and direction through its consequences such as conflicts that mould economic developments and respond to them. There is therefore the need to curb this trade so as to thwart its associated risks.


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