Disrupt criminal markets, not just the mafias PDF Print E-mail




(3)   Disrupt criminal markets, not just the mafias


In the past quarter century, organized crime has gone global.  It has reached macro-economic and armed dimensions to become a threat to the stability of nations. The report on The Globalization of Crime that I inspired when I was the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, provides the first comprehensive assessment of global crime markets:  drugs, arms, modern slaves, illicit resources, counterfeits, as well as maritime piracy and cyber-crime. 

The threat is not just economic.  The threat is strategic, as criminals today can influence elections, politicians and the military – in one word, they buy power.

Some governments are unable to resist, as they lack the resourcess. Some others would be able to contain the problem, but show a benign neglect  -- and I have in mind some rich nations.

Regarding the vulnerable countries, nation well meaning but with little means, we should help them fortify their resistance to crime. This requires improving their development and their security. Reaching the Millenium Development Goals would be an effective antidote to crime, that in itself is an obstacle to development. A stronger emphasis on securing justice in peace operations would reduce instability, that is a magnet for crime.

Regarding the rich countries, I recommend greater vigilance:  all illicit flows in our report head north. The world’s biggest economies, namely the G8 and the BRIC countries, are the biggest markets for illicit trade – even if they have the most to lose if organized crime is allowed to manipulate market competition.

Therefore, the greatest challenges is to reduce demand for illicit goods – like reducing vulnerability to human trafficking, improving drug pervention, raising consumer awareness about the origin of products (like the Kimberly process), and getting the private sector to keep illicit goods out of their supply chains.  

Demand – and not only supply, fuels illicit markets. Arresting some traffickers may divert the flows, but it will not shut them off: other criminals will fill the void as long as there is money to be made. Therefore, in addition to disrupting the mafias groups, we need disrupting their markets.  

In also invite you to crack down on the accomplices of crime, white-collar professionals – lawyers, accountants, realtors and bankers – who cover up and launder mafia proceeds.

Furthermore, in our inter-connected world, national responses just displace the problem from country to another.  For this very reason, ten years ago – in Palermo – the UN member states signed up to coordinated efforts against international mafias.  Unfortunately, over the past decade, not muchwas done and crime has internationalized faster than law enforcement and world governance.

I therefore urge governmebts to take more seriously the threat posed by mafias:  international laws (conventions) will not strike fear into the hearts of the mafia; law enforcement will.  I therefore urge readers to send a clear signal on the need to strengthen international cooperation to fight crime.

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 October 2014 11:31