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A study of the impact of globalization on transnational organised crime

How Globalization Facilitates Transnational Crime It is now widely recognized that important aspects of the globalization process facilitate transnational organized crime in a variety of ways. This section of the course will look at how this process promotes both legal and illegal profit making activities at the same time by exploiting, for example, the great global transportation and communication systems that make globalization possible.

Our basic question for this section of the course is, what are the specific characteristics of globalization that facilitate the illegal activities of transnational criminals. The Italian sociologist, Monica Massari, has described the criminogenic potential of the globalization process that is constantly creating new opportunities for transnational criminals.

As the volume of global trade increases, regulating what is being shipped, as well as identifying the senders and receivers of packages or cargo is becoming more difficult.

This makes it easier for criminals to smuggle people or contraband, or steal valuable products or materials from legitimate producers and customers.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, what is striking about the global map of trafficking routes is that the world's biggest trading partners are also the world's biggest markets for illicit goods and services.

Transnational Organized Crime: How Globalization Facilitates Transnational Crime

This reflects the extent to which the underworld has become inextricably linked to the global economy, and vice versa. Nor do the criminals have to work at creating demand, as the UN report notes, most of the trafficking flows examined in this report are the product of market forces, rather than the plotting of dedicated criminal groups.

Demand exists for drugs, prostitution, cheap labor, firearms, wild animal parts, knock off goods, hardwoods, and child pornography. The consumption of these goods apparently carries little moral stigma.

There are two useful ways to survey the sheer scope of transnational crime. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published in 2010 a long report that lists transnational criminal activities in terms of illicit commodities and specific threats. Trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, trafficking in cocaine, heroin, firearms, environmental resources, and counterfeit products, maritime piracy, and cybercrime. This 300-page document is filled with interesting and detailed descriptions of how transnational criminals plan and carry out their operations, and about the annual consumption or confiscation of illicit products.

For example, the world consumed 340 tons of heroin in 2008. About two billion counterfeit consumer items are shipped from China to the European Union countries each year.

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There are about 1. This list represents a very small fraction of the damage transnational criminals inflict on innocent people around the world every year. This kind of specific information about the types and effects of transnational crime is absolutely necessary for the purpose of getting a sense of how deeply these criminal activities permeate the daily lives of people across the globe. The second approach to understanding transnational criminal activities looks at the global socioeconomic context in which these crimes occur.

Transnational Organized Crime: How Globalization Facilitates Transnational Crime

This perspective allows us to think about the cause and effect relationships that link people's living conditions to their propensity to either commit or to become the victims of transnational crimes. Transnational crime is inextricably linked to the global distribution of wealth and poverty. Those who study globalization have various ways to describe the fact that the globalization process benefits some populations while it harms others. One can speak in abstract terms about globalization's having positive and negative consequences in different parts of the world, or within a single country.

The economist Joseph Stiglitz writes of asymmetric globalization that has put developing countries at a disadvantage because of unfair trade agreements the developed countries have imposed upon them. One also sees the term uneven globalization. More candid depictions of the consequences of these imbalances of power use terms like, the dark side of globalization, the underbelly of globalization, or the dirty economy that co-exists alongside the clean economy.

In the last analysis, this discussion is about the economic and social inequalities that are created, or sustained, or amplified by the globalization process. We should always keep in mind that the dark side and the underbelly of globalization have human faces. In fact, studying the impacts of transnational crime in their gory details serves as a useful antidote to the social science jargon that, in its euphemizing way, numbs our ability to understand and empathize with the experiences of vulnerable and traumatized people.

An enormous amount of transnational crime originates in the misery and desperation that result from increasing economic inequality around the globe. A prime example of the dynamic that results from a porous border separating prosperous and impoverished territories is the trafficking of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Most of the trafficking victims who end up in Europe come from the relatively poor societies that were once the Western territories of the former Soviet empire, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Moldova.

Lacking opportunities in their native countries, most of these women are persuaded to leave by promises of work, participation in beauty contests, modeling opportunities, affordable vacations, study abroad programs, or marriage services. Some of the trafficked women who wind up in Europe come from other parts of the world. This list of situations and venues does not even include the bars, massage parlors, dancing clubs, pornography operations, and arranged marriage schemes in which trafficked women can be placed.

This kind of information makes it clear that the transnational criminal exploitation of vulnerable women who are deceived and manipulated into traveling west to the prosperous Eurozone makes use of any number of social venues and relationships that are perfectly legitimate, rather than being criminal activities in and of themselves.

The human trafficking that was just described involves a basic feature of globalization, the movement of large numbers of people across borders, and the consequences that follow their displacement from one place to another.

Transnational Organised Crime and Globalisation

In this case, the victims are moved across borders to serve the clients on their home territory. Transnational sex crime also includes the reverse travel arrangement, known as international sex tourism, where so-called sex tourists travel to distant countries to engage in legal prostitution with adults, or what are usually illegal sexual activities with children. And here too, there are international organizations keeping watch. The UN-affiliated world tourism organization defined sex tourism as trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside the sector, but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residence at the destination.

International hotel chains and airlines are indirect beneficiaries of global sex tourism. One might say that it is a sign of globalization when a social phenomenon with criminal potential, such as human trafficking, catalyzes the formation of international groups to criticize it, monitor it, or even attempt to regulate it.

The universality of the human sex drive and people's attempts to satisfy it creates social institutions or practices that are examples of globalization.

  • This 300-page document is filled with interesting and detailed descriptions of how transnational criminals plan and carry out their operations, and about the annual consumption or confiscation of illicit products;
  • In this theoretical scenario, the ultimate goal is an intercultural marriage, with the objective of enabling the woman to emigrate;
  • These power blocks offer good opportunities for collaboration with rising political strongmen or warlords who desire unlimited power and profits;
  • The consumption of these goods apparently carries little moral stigma.

These institutions and practices, as we've seen, often incorporating an imbalance of power between exploiters and victims, and between men and women. One commentator calls the extremely profitable sexualization of many societies based on social domination an increasingly central aspect of current capitalist globalization. The French legal scholar Marie-Claire Belleau has studied the traffic in mail order brides and describes it too as a globalization phenomenon.

The global quest for romance, as she puts it, has been made possible by the growing accessibility of information technology networks and international travel. In this theoretical scenario, the ultimate goal is an intercultural marriage, with the objective of enabling the woman to emigrate. The consequence of this global quest for romance is a flourishing and lucrative industry involving the trafficking of women from the third world to husbands in the first world. The mail order bride industry is yet another example of a globalization phenomenon that is based on an imbalance of power that takes the form of social domination.

First, the men have money and the women do not. Second, the men are typically looking for a docile, submissive, and subservient bride whom he can control and dominate. The mail order bride business thereby reproduces the traditional balance of power between the first and the third worlds. Source Copyright University of Texas at Austin.

How Globalization Facilitates Transnational Crime.

  • Our basic question for this section of the course is, what are the specific characteristics of globalization that facilitate the illegal activities of transnational criminals;
  • But do they really exist as transnational, organised criminal corporations?