- Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 6: Organized economic crime
Organized crime is one of the greatest threats to human, national and international security throughout the world. It is not only a threat, but a daily reality that causes immense harm to individuals, families and communities, capable of undermining governance, fuelling corruption and hindering economic development. Evidence drawn from law enforcement activity suggests that organized crime is not only large in scale and impact, but that some elements have diversified and globalized, reaching macroeconomic proportions. Organized Crime Groups (OCGs) are most commonly associated with drugs trafficking. However, they are increasingly known to be have diversified, becoming involved in many different types of criminal activity to include fraud, identity theft, burglary, child sexual exploitation, counterfeit currency, intellectual property crimes, environmental and wildlife crimes, human smuggling and trafficking, firearms and cybercrime. Furthermore, their reach has expanded as a result of globalization, especially with the aid of internet-based technologies, which have enabled the indiscriminate targeting of potential victims irrespective of their age, sex, race, location or religion. Moreover, organized crime is on the increase. In 2009, global organized crime was estimated to generate $870 billion per annum in illegal profits, representing 1.5 per cent of global GDP. In 2014, this figure rose to approximately $1 trillion. Furthermore, this trend in growth is expected to continue. In the United Kingdom (UK), the number of active OCGs known to law enforcement is approximately 5,300. The human and economic costs of such groups are considerable.
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