Global Agenda Council on Organized Crime 2012-2013
Organized crime threatens human security and hinders economic and political stability at an enormous cost to development. Fuelled by the same forces of globalization that expand trade, communications and information, criminal syndicates have unprecedented reach into the lives and affairs of ordinary people, multinational companies and governments. The cross-border flow of global proceeds from criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion is estimated at over US$ 1 trillion, with illegal drugs and counterfeit goods each accounting for 8% of world trade.
Research has revealed intricate cooperation between the licit and illicit economies. Enablers of organized crime that are legitimate elements of the official economy include professional service providers, loosely monitored online data storage systems and complex supply chains. Law enforcement has only recently given greater attention to such activities. Another consideration is how organized crime negatively impacts conditions for business, and thus the competitiveness of entire countries.
The nexus between illicit drugs and organized crime is increasingly apparent, as the violence associated with drug trafficking wreaks havoc in fragile states and corrodes institutions in “consumer” countries. This violence calls into question the effectiveness of the “war on drugs” policies that target the supply, rather than the demand for illicit drugs. The shift in production locations closer to target markets (particularly of illicit synthetic drugs), suggests that crime organizations are extremely adaptable in profit-maximization strategies.
Further, interlinkages between organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism are surfacing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa and Latin America. Incidents of criminal organizations using terrorist tactics for their profit-seeking ends have forced authorities to reconsider their approaches to combating such organizations. Meanwhile, the growth of human trafficking or illicit trade in environmental resources is linked to the diversification of drug organizations that capitalize on the low risk and high profit of resource exploitation, alongside addiction.
- The Mariposa Botnet infected more than 12.7 million personal computers in 190 countries, and more than 3,000 smartphones before they were shipped from the factory.
- Latin America, the hub of global cocaine production and trafficking, accounts for 6% of the world’s population and 27% of the world’s homicides.
- A Russian businessman named Viktor Bout used dozens of shell companies registered in Delaware (USA) to finance his global arms trafficking business.
“Public attention to organized crime is mostly limited to homicides and headline arrests of kingpins. Online, however, silent organized crime has infiltrated legitimate economies without the violent muscling that the media would cover. The global annual cost of cybercrime is estimated at US$ 388 billion.”
Ernesto Savona, Director, Transcrime; Vice-Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Organized Crime
“Legislation should be harmonized to make cross-border investigation easier. Companies and members of the public should know where and how to report crime online. We need to build on individual success stories to develop closer cooperation between industry and law enforcement. In particular, collaboration via trust platforms would speed up the collective response to online threats.”
Rob Wainwright, Director, Europol; Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Organized Crime
6th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime
15-19 October 2012
In 2011-12, the Global Agenda Council on Organized Crime produced research and recommendations on the enablers of organized crime. This broad concept includes individuals, mechanisms and situations that play an important role in supporting organized crime activities, whether intentionally or inadvertently, and that increase its benefits and scale while reducing its risks. The Council closely examined the impact of enablers in three critical areas: cybercrime, money laundering and Free Trade Zones (FTZs).
To deepen the impact of this research, the Council sees a need to raise awareness of the role of the private sector in combating organized crime. Estimating the costs of organized crime to businesses would further interest in the topic among mainstream companies. Likewise, exploring the negative impact of organized crime on incentives for investment, economic growth and competitiveness could elevate this issue into a macro-level concern.
The Council is also concerned about “green” activities undertaken by organized crime, that is, the diversification of activities that are common among highly sophisticated criminal organizations. Whether human trafficking or illegal logging, the siphoning of energy assets and other such activities drain precious potential away from communities.
The Council will also consider the issue of illicit drugs and the role drug trafficking can take in the destabilization of fragile states. Likewise, the deeper nexus between terrorism organizations and organized crime, which may include funding, strategy and support, demands the Council’s attention.
Council Manager: Isabel de Sola, Knowledge Manager, Global Agenda Councils, Isabel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum Lead: Martina Gmür, Senior Director, Global Agenda Councils, Martina.email@example.com