Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 | 08:04 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 | 08:04 | SYDNEY

The globalisation of crime


Mark Thirlwell

18 June 2010 10:11

A couple of weeks back I posted on the dark side of globalisation. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has just released a threat assessment of what it describes as transnational organised crime (TOC). According to this new report, 'organized crime has globalized and turned into one of the world's foremost economic and armed powers.'

While the report admits the tentative nature of some of its numbers, it puts the estimated total value of the illicit flows that are discussed in the report at about US$125 billion a year, of which around 85% is generated by drugs markets:

UNODC emphasises the way in which the world's biggest trading powers are also the biggest markets for illicit goods and services, and argues that this 'reflects the extent to which the underworld has become inextricably linked to the global economy, and vice versa, through the illicit trade of legal products (like natural resources), or the use of established banking, trade and communications networks (financial centres, shipping containers, the Internet) that are moving growing amounts of illicit goods'. The globalisation of crime is well illustrated in this accompanying slideshow.

Finally, the report also stresses the important links between TOC, political instability, and state failure across the globe (higher res. version of chart can be found in the report itself):