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Globalization and Transnational Crime

17 5 9

Globalization, generally described as the removal of barriers to cross-national movement of goods and funds, has been beneficial for transnational organized crime networks. The global forces of supply and demand have created new markets for illicit goods and services provided by criminal organizations. There is high demand for things like drugs (particularly in Europe and North America), weapons (in Africa and the Middle East), exotic wildlife and animal parts (Asia), and exploitable humans (virtually everywhere). The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recently estimated that the international trade in counterfeit and stolen goods amounts to as much as half a trillion dollars. Criminal networks also have new opportunities to establish facilities in various countries from which they can produce and distribute their illicit goods, decreasing costs and maximizing profits. Similarly, just as we see with legal multinational corporations, transnational criminal networks can outsource an array of support services to areas around the world with internet connectivity and lower labor costs.

For example, massive amounts of cocaine are now smuggled by ship and air from Latin America (mainly Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela) to West Africa, and heroin is smuggled from Central and South Asia to East Africa (and sometimes West Africa as well). In both cases, the drugs then make their way from East and West Africa to the primary drug consumer markets in Europe and the U.S. According to the 2018 UNODC World Drug Report, ‘the quantity of cocaine seized in Africa doubled in 2016, with countries in North Africa seeing a six fold increase and accounting for 69 per cent of all the cocaine seized in the region in 2016.’ Interpol’s World Atlas of Illicit Flows identifies a handful of countries as being particularly important transit hubs for drug trafficking, including Guinea-Bissau, Cape........

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