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Research Report

From the Margins to the Mainstream:: Toward an Integrated Multilateral Response to Organized Crime

Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2014
Pages: 40

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. i-ii)
  3. (pp. iii-iv)
  4. (pp. 1-2)
  5. (pp. 2-6)

    Organized crime used to be considered a marginal issue. It was a threat that only affected the security of a few big-city neighborhoods (particularly in North America) or regions (such as the south of Italy). It was something for law enforcement officials to confront. Organized crime was regarded as being apart from mainstream issues of security, governance, and development in the same way that “crime” is displayed in a separate section from “fiction” in many bookstores.

    But in the past quarter-century—since the end of the Cold War—organized crime has moved from the margins to the mainstream. As the...

  6. (pp. 6-12)

    Information is a prerequisite for a more effective multilateral response to organized crime. For the international community to tackle organized crime, it needs to know more about what it is confronting: What are the commodities and services that comprise the criminal markets? How big are they in terms of volume and profit? Where are the sources of supply, the trafficking routes, and the markets that create demand? What means are being used to get the products to market? How are markets and trends changing? Who are the actors involved? What are their incentives? At the moment, such information is lacking....

  7. (pp. 12-18)

    In the past, organized crime was treated as a law enforcement issue separate from development, stability, or justice. Indeed, the development community tended to stay clear of the issue of organized crime. But slowly, important shifts are occurring in the debate. This is a reflection of the development community’s changing view that organized crime is a major hindrance to development, and that under-development increases vulnerability to crime. Therefore, development and crime-fighting are inextricably linked.

    An important marker in this debate was the publication of the World Bank’s World Develop - ment Report 2011, which focused on the nexus of conflict,...

  8. (pp. 18-29)

    Organized crime is seldom contained within fragile states’ borders and often spreads to bordering states. Neighboring states and those in the wider region have a direct interest in ensuring that organized crime and associated illicit trafficking are contained in the country in question. For example, the proceeds of crime are often transferred to neighboring countries and invested in assets such as property. This can have a detrimental effect . Criminally inflated property booms price legitimate actors out of real estate markets, causing severe dislocations and economic distortions. A recent study by the World Economic Forum detailed fourteen ways that the...

  9. (pp. 29-33)

    In conclusion, organized crime has moved from the margins to the mainstream. A growing realization exists that organized crime is a threat, particularly in relation to conflict and stability. But this has not led to significant changes in policy, as manifested by the weak response to illicit activity in Mali. Nor is the UN in the mainstream of debates on revising drug policies—the initiative has been seized by special regional commissions and independent experts. The lack of a coherent international approach to organized crime is partly due to resistance from some states that defend sovereignty against the internationalization of...

  10. (pp. 34-34)