Organized crime is one of the most persistent and imminent issues affecting the globe. Being an age old problem, it sponsors terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, prostitution and other vices in the society that directly or indirectly adversely affects the economic, social and legal systems on state, national and international level. It is far from conclusion.
Organized crime especially the transnational type, has long been regarded as one of the major threats to the security of human beings, impeding the diverse human development and societal advancement, these could be social economic, political and the cultural development of the various different societies in the world. Human trafficking is one among many activities that represent the manifestation of the multi-faceted phenomenal act of organized crime. Organized crime is also manifested through, smuggling, drug trafficking, illicit firearm trade among others. Most gangs involved in organized crime conduct most of these activities and thus these crimes are very much related. Human trafficking is the trade in which, human beings are the commodity of trade, it is illegal and those involved in the trade do so with an aim of reproductive slavery, exploiting human beings against their will for commercial sex, acquiring labor that is forced or in practicing modern form of slavery (Shelley, 2010).
Effects of Organized Crime and Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is outlawed on national level and internationally, being one of the ratified protocols by the UN under trafficking protocol. Transnational crime has been greatly emphasized with nations being urged to stay vigilant about curbing this menace. In the contemporary setting, majorities of those trafficked are women and children. Trafficking in children has an adverse social economic impact on all levels. The young children are denied their right to freedom and most of their other human rights being violated. With it being a forced activity, the young children are psychologically disturbed, frustrated and depressed. Their human dignity is trampled on, with their self-esteem being lowered (Shanty & Mshra, 2008).
On growing up, most of these children have resigned to fate and if they manage to free themselves, they have no education or any professional qualifications to guarantee them employment. They are forced by circumstances to join in the organized crime in order to provide for themselves with a means of survival. Those who do not join in the organized crime become petty offenders or criminals and thus find themselves behind bars out of reasons beyond their control. Socially, these children have been disoriented for being trafficked and treated worse than animals. They develop low self-esteem and are unable to vigorous and aggressive in realizing and releasing their maximum potential. Majority have been removed from reality, as they have to work in secluded alienated areas. They are thus robbed off the chance to grow up like normal children. Even if they returned to the society, they are unable to fit in properly as they are not oriented with the current trends. They are thus shunned and viewed as outcasts. This further escalating their frustration. Either they become very aggressive, getting involved in many confrontations or they become psychological depressed leading them to committing suicide, crime or indulging themselves in illicit drugs.
Children are the cream of the society, ensuring that there is the assurance the subsequent generation will carry on the mantle of society development, maintenance of law and order, and catering to the general welfare of the society. Trafficking children is one way of robbing the society, its much valued asset and assurance of healthy societal succession. The trafficked children never have ample time to engage in schoolwork or in developing their talents. Therefore, the society is deprived economically as such children would have become prominent and useful individuals in the society. The trafficked children thus end up becoming wasted, unexploited, untapped, or undeveloped talents. Without having means of sustaining themselves or earning livelihood, this group instead of becoming means of economic development by contributing to the economy, become an economic burden as they draw from the economy. They become a burden to the government, as they have to be maintained, some have to be kept in rehabilitation centers, some in correctional facilities while others use government funds in pursing them as criminals. Human trafficking as an activity also cost the government a lot of money in employing officers to curb the illicit trade (Nelen, 2008).
It also degrades the dignity of human being by the commoditization of individuals. It also raises legal issues as it goes against the set national and international laws. It contradicts the constitutions of many nations that have ratified the human rights laws. It raises the concern of insecurity as those in the society fear they might be target or their relatives. Trafficking some one’s child, after kidnapping or enticing, also adversely affects the society as the mother, father, relatives and the society as a whole is left devastated, traumatized and disoriented. Instead of concentrating on economic development and other national building concerns, the attention is turned into what should not have happened in the first place. As a result, time and other resources are wasted.
In trafficking men and women, the society is robbed off its seniors and guiding role models of the society. Children are left without parents and thus nobody to properly look after them. The institution of marriage, which lays the foundation of a family-the basic, political, social and economic unit, is jeopardized and broken, for some families. With human trafficking, all other sectors are affected in the areas previously serviced by the trafficked individuals. Trafficking also brings chaos and anarchy in the world. Business transactions and other activities rely mainly on the existence of international peace and harmony. With security being compromised, all other areas of the society are affected.
Thriving human trafficking illegal business makes the organized criminal gangs to become even more powerful. They acquire much revenue, which they use to perpetrate these cruel acts and many more. Some of these criminal gangs become very powerful to an extent they challenge the legality and mandate of established legitimate governments. In some countries, these gangs have revolted against the government, sparking off a civil war. Civil wars that have been rampant especially in the third world countries have become a source of misery to millions of people. Some countries have been left on their knees economically. There is a missing generation as some youth murdered in large numbers leave a wide gap. The lucrative nature of human trafficking illegal business, make it to thrive even the more despite heavy personnel designated to stamp it out (Muncie, 2009).
Human trafficking is also morally wrong and goes against the teachings of many religions. In ethics, the human dignity should be upheld and strictly observed at all times. With trafficking, there is ethical degradation and erosion. The society thus becomes morally corrupt and crooked. Many religion teachings are violated and unobserved. The emanating society becomes that of praising evil and being indifferent to human moral doctrines and religious values. Where the trafficking is selective in terms of race, racial tension escalates with one race accusing the other of racial abuse. Racism thus is continued as another tool of committing injustices to certain group of people (Lee, 2007).
Humans who are trafficked are usually taken to work in illegal businesses like in drug industries, brothels, and criminal gangs’ activities execution. Human trafficking thus is one avenue of ensuring other criminal activities continue, as there is sufficient human labor. Human trafficking is thus a menace that has effects on almost all sectors of the economy and society as a whole, either directly or indirectly. For example in areas with prostitution necessitated by trafficked girls, drug use is also widespread. With drug use and drug trafficking, then illegal firearms trafficking and possession is imminent. With firearms acquisition, crime is inevitable with some crimes turning ugly with incidences of shooting. With shooting, the level of insecurity is raised with some people losing their lives in the exchange of fire, some criminals others innocent people. With all these activities, there is a state of lawlessness, which in turn hampers all other activities. Such illegal businesses give rise to powerful mafias and high profile criminals. Some of the criminals who have thrived because of organized crime are discussed below.
High Profile Criminals of Organized Crime
Manuel Noriega – He is a political figure and soldier from Panama. He was the leader of Panama from 1983 to 1989 a period which he exercised dictatorship. He had worked for the American Government before becoming a top official n Panama army. He was involved in narcotics and even associated with the Colombian drug Lord Escobar. He was also involved in human trafficking and money laundering and one example is the case he used the Bank of Credit and Commerce in laundering money. During his reign, he sponsored organized crime with his country thriving as a haven for all manner of illegal trafficking. When the US invaded Panama, he was captured and tried in the US for his involvement in racketeering, money laundering and drug trafficking. He was in a US prison until 2007. Before being assigned to a permanent prison,
Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone (1899-1947) was an Italian-American, New Yorker who led an illegal criminal gang. His gang conducted smuggling, human trafficking, illicit liquor, racketeering and prostitution from 1920s to 1931. Born in New York, he grew to become an influential gang lord. Arrested and charged with tax evasion, murder, racketeering, human trafficking and smuggling. Sent to Alcatraz federal prison and died of cardiac arrest in 1947. During his life, he lived a flamboyant lifestyle and was fond of the media. He was also vocal and was liked by the public for his charitable organizations-the money was from criminal activities (Hart, 2009).
John Gotti (1940-2002) was convicted of hijacking, human trafficking, loan sharking, gambling, extortion, racketeering and other criminal activities. He was very influential, feared and controlled some areas of New York. He made a fortune through these illegal activities of which some of his wealth was passed on to his family, which remain influential up to date. One of his sons has taken after him and has been on trial for similar counts as his father.
Terrorism and Drugs’ Connection with Human Trafficking
Human trafficking as noted affects almost all countries of the world and the challenging issue has been to identify the criminals involved in this illicit trade and ways of stopping the trade altogether. However, it is still a very challenging task as not all governments are strict in ensuring the halting of the business. Some states like Somalia have become failed state with no government that can take charge of the country. Terrorists groups like the al Shabaab, have reigned supreme in the country. The group has been recruiting and abducting people to be recruited as its extremist fighters. The group is said to be an affiliate of the al Qaeda terrorist group held accountable for conducting various terrorist raids in the world including the September 11 terror attack in the US.
Terrorism has been one of the, if not the major concern of international security. Terrorist groups continue to claim scores of lives of innocent civilians through their numerous bombings. Human trafficking has been one of the factors associated with international terrorism. Young children bought by these terrorists groups, are brought up exposed to the terrorist doctrines, and vigorous trained on the various terrorist methods so that on growing up they can become agents of terror. Human trafficking has thus been closely linked with terrorism in the modern society. With human trafficking facilitating terrorism, terrorism activities have reined havocs in the world. The September 11 terror attack had a devastating effect on the US economy and that of the world in general. More than one trillion dollars was lost through the resultant stock market meltdown. If terrorism was to be effectively eradicated, then human trafficking must be addressed (Cullen-Du Pont, 2009).
Drug problem in the world has been a persistent issue. Drug misuse has rendered many people’s brains to malfunction and consequently low input into the economy. Young people have been adversely affected and drug use has resulted in crimes and prostitution to meet their cost of which some are extremely expensive. Other people have died, others becoming mad and others hallucinating and having weird illusions. Organized crime has been the major sponsor of the drug use, with drug lords emerging. Some countries like Colombia have had some of their parts controlled by these drugs lords and cartels (Cohen, 1981).
Organized crime and human trafficking has been an age-old problem that seems far from being concluded. These illicit activities sponsor other activities like terrorism, which cost billions of dollars in combating and in destruction. War on Afghanistan was termed as War on Terror as the country was attacked for harboring terrorist masterminds like Osama bin Laden. The War on Drugs has also been going on for decades without even any indication of conclusion, yet every year it takes millions of dollars from the budget. Many people continue to be adversely affected by theses drugs. Human trafficking is a big shame on the human civilization, as the 21st century advocates for individual freedom and equality for all. Organized crime cripples the economy, brings social disorder and undermines the legal system.
Cohen, S. (1981). The Substance abuse problems. New York: The Haworth Press.
Cullen-Du Pont, K. (2009). Human trafficking. New York: Infobase Publishing.
Hart, J. (2009). Human Trafficking. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
Lee, M. (2007). Human Trafficking. New York: Willan.
Muncie, J. (2009). Youth and Crime. London, Sage Publications Ltd.
Nelen, M. (2008). Organized Crime: Culture, Markets and Policies. New York: Springer.
Shanty, F. and Mshra, P. (2008). Organized crime: from trafficking to terrorism, volume 1. California: ABC-CLIO.
Shelley, L. (2010). Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.