Global Organized Crime: A Reference Handbook

Global Organized Crime: A Reference Handbook

Global Organized Crime: A Reference Handbook

Global Organized Crime: A Reference Handbook


This book offers a comprehensive, multidimensional look into the major activities, groups, causes, and policing strategies related to global organized crime.

Global Organized Crime: A Reference Handbook examines global organized crime dating back to its 17th-century roots. Unlike most works on the subject, which take a parochial approach by concentrating on individual countries or regions, this book uniquely details the impact of 21st-century globalization on such groups and their activities.

Exploring the continuum of international organized crime and related developments from its early beginnings to the present era, the book also looks at the complicated issues that continue to influence its growth. It covers the impact of the end of the Cold War, immigration, the global drug trade, weapons sales, human smuggling and trafficking, the convergence of funding sources, and the effects of technology. What especially distinguishes this book is the connections it makes between organized crime activities and failed states, civil wars, political transitions, regional conflicts, and terrorist groups.


Over the last 20 years the world’s organized crime groups have adapted to the changing forces of globalization, the rise of the Internet, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the dismantlement of Yugoslavia, and the end of apartheid—events that were unimaginable at the beginning of the 1990s. This book was written with the intent of moving beyond the outdated explanations and histories of organized crime and to place these groups within the context of the 21st century. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, America’s law enforcement agencies at every level of government transferred most of their resources and attention toward fighting a “war on terror.” As a result most organized crime activity since 9/11 has continued virtually unimpeded. What’s more, the distinctions between terrorist groups and organized crime networks have become increasingly blurred as each form of criminality borrows strategies from the other. With many terrorist groups losing their state sponsors in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, they have turned toward criminal activities to finance their operations and in many cases have begun to look more and more like traditional organized crime groups.

Like the legitimate global economies that they mimic, a parallel illicit underground economy has developed, taking advantage of the same opportunities as its legitimate counterparts. Although global organized crime seems to be a rather new phenomenon, a brief history of this criminality in Chapter 1 demonstrates that pirates in the 17th century and slave traders even earlier were actually their forefathers in spirit and nature. Global organized crime has not manifested itself in a vacuum, but is the result of many different forces that challenge governments, police forces, and populations.

It has been more than eight years since I became a monthly instructor at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) . . .

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