Human and Drug Trafficking

The UN Definition of Transnational Organised Crime

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) is an international convention that deals with organised crime. In this section, it is crucial to note that the convention does not provide a precise definition of transnational crimes. According to Sergi (2014), this omission was done deliberately to acknowledge the evolving nature of crimes that constantly emerge over time due to changes in local, national, regional, and global conditions.

While a transnational crime implies illegal actions and the breaking of law across borders or between two or more countries, the UN Convention has not made an effort of listing the type of crimes for the same reasons of the diverse and ever-changing nature of crimes. However, the convention has defined the nature of any in Article 2(a). In the definition, an organised criminal group must meet four important characteristics.

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Firstly, it must be made up of three or more people who did not come together randomly. Secondly, the group must have been in existence for a substantial period (Wright 2013). Additionally, the group must be acting together to commit at least one crime that is punishable by not less than four years of imprisonment. Its aim is to obtain, directly and indirectly, financial or other material benefits. From the above traits, the reader may categorically regard transnational organised crime as a threat to the peace and stability of nations. In fact, such crime undermines social, cultural, political, and economic development of societies in the world.

As Clinard, Quinney, and Wildeman (2014) reveal, crimes in this category manifest themselves in many ways such as the trafficking of firearms, drugs, and individuals. Additionally, other organised crimes include money laundering and the smuggling of immigrants. As a result, the fight against transnational organised crimes requires the corporation of across borders to pursue, apprehend, and lock down criminals.

In the fight against transnational crime, it is important for law enforcement agencies to understand the type of networks that the criminal groups establish. For instance, such arrangements may be categorised into standard hierarchy or loose criminal networks. One may wonder why understanding the type of organised criminal groups network is critical from a .

In simple terms as Le (2012) clarifies, being aware of the networks determines whether the should focus on the group or the criminal activities. According to the UNTOC, the five ideal types of the standard, regional, clustered, core group, and criminal networks. However, it is vital to mention that while the above hierarchies are the ideal ones, not all criminal groups fit into the categorisation (Leong 2016). Nonetheless, many groups will have one or more characteristics of one of the criminal networks. Therefore, understanding the nature of the organised criminal group is very critical in determining the approaches and resources that law enforcement agencies will use to fight a crime.

A standard hierarchy is a single organised criminal group led by a solitary person who has immense power over the other members. Such organisations have clearly defined roles, a chain of command, and structures, which are designed to guarantee strong internal discipline among members. They also have a strong sense of ethnic and social identity (Sergi 2014). The law enforcement organ should target the group members and most importantly, the leaders.

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