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June 5, 2013 / C H Thompson

Globalization and crime

A global crime is one which transcends national boundaries (globalisation). Transnational crime is big business, the United Nations reports that illegal drugs make up 8% of the world trade.

Meanwhile the annual value of the global prostitution industry is estimated to be US$52 bn. Analysts warn that a further rise in global crime threatens to destabilise cultural and economic status quos.

Dick Hobbs and Colin Dunningham their 1990s ethnographic study examined how organised crime has expanded on the back of globalisation. This isn’t to say global criminal organisations like the Mafia dominate instead global crime operates through a glocal system – that is, there’s a global distribution network built from local connections. For example local growers of cannabis, deliver their product to a supply-chain feeding a global network of users. For example Columbian drug barons use glocal systems to deliver their product to the world. The following clip explains in more detail.

Animals – Gibbon smuggling – a vast amount of money is made from the illegal wildlife trade every year. As well as the market for animal derived alternative medicines, some creatures are traded for private collections and as pets.

Cars – according to Interpol, illicit trafficking of vehicles generates an estimated $19 billion of criminal earnings worldwide every year. For all the effort car manufacturers have made to increase car security with devices such as infrared locking and immobilisers, the most common method of car theft now is for criminals to steal the keys to the cars

Drugs – class A drugs trafficking is the priority for most law enforcement agencies throughout the world. The trade in ‘hard’ drugs such as heroin and cocaine is considered by police as the greatest threat to life, either through violent killings given the high money stakes and/or addiction. Need or greed means that drug traffickers often resort to ingenious methods to get their consignments past the authorities.

Gun smuggling – there are more than 200 million guns in private hands in America. More than all the guns of world’s armies put together. Most of the weapons are bought and sold legally from licensed gun-shops. But away from this legitimate trade there is a flourishing black market for firearms.

Human traffic – arranging for someone to buy a live kidney is illegal. Dr Bhagat Singh Makkar, a family doctor in London, was struck off the medical register when he was found guilty of doing just that. The doctor was secretly recorded offering to arrange a kidney transplant using a live donor, for money.

Sex – Maria is from Moldova and like many other young people from poorer countries she dreamed of a better life, a job, perhaps in Italy. Therefore she found a woman who arranged everything and then got a message that it was time to leave. But the travel agent was a trafficker. Maria was sold for sex from one person to another as she ‘travelled’  through Yugoslavia to Albania

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