Example Of Research Paper On Transnational Crimes

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Crime, Social Issues, Drugs, Countries, Slavery, Human, Criminal Justice, Prostitution

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/02/11


Transnational crimes can be defined as crimes that cross the boundaries of more than one nation and have potential harmful impact across many nations. Transnational crimes are also defined as crimes that violate the fundamental values of the international community (CFR, 2014). Transnational crimes may seem like a new phenomenon in this age of globalization, but actually it is not a new thing to happen in the world. Its roots can be traced back to thousands of years ago when transnational slave trade was a norm between Persia and East Africa. Transnational crimes that continued for ages have taken newer forms in the modern world. The major transnational crimes include human trafficking, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, people smuggling, animal and plant trafficking, sex slavery, multinational terrorism offences, apartheid, transnational organized crimes, and transnational cybercrimes (UNODC #1, 2014).
There are several challenges in dealing with transnational crimes. Since more than one country is involved in transnational crimes, it is important for all the concerned countries to make a combined effort to stop these crimes as these affect all the nations. In many cases, people commit crimes in one country and then seek political asylum in another country. These criminals seek political asylum in countries that have major political or ideological differences with the country in which they have committed the crime. For example, many people who committed crimes on the US soil may seek refuge in Russia (UNODC #1, 2014). Transnational crimes are more complex to deal with from the perspective of the criminal law. This essay will discuss different types of transnational crimes and the available international laws to tackle them.

Human Trafficking

In human trafficking, a person is removed from his or her familiar surroundings and is taken to a completely unknown and isolated condition. Often the language of the captors differs from that of the captives (Campbell, 2013). Human trafficking is a type of modern day slavery that involves transportation of people from one country to another for the purpose of work. According to the United Nations, more than $2.5 million people are ensnared into the web of trafficking at any given point in time (UNODC #1, 2014). Human trafficking can impact people of all backgrounds. Men are generally trafficked for hard labor. Children are trafficked for the purpose of labor into specific industries. In some cases, children are also trafficked for sex slavery. Women and girls are typically trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation (Campbell, 2013).
Globally, the average cost of a slave is estimated to be around $90 only (Amahazion, 2015). Any kind of human trafficking ultimately results in exploitation. Forced prostitution is the most common form of exploitation for women. Even some of the trafficked girls are forced to act in pornographic films and are victims of involuntary servitude (Askola, 2010). According to estimates provided by the United Nations, 19% of the trafficked people undergo labor exploitation and 60% undergo some form of sexual exploitation (both men and women) (UNODC #1, 2014).
There are approximately 40 million slaves today in the world. In the US alone, almost 800,000 people are trafficked through the international border (Mexican border mostly) (CFR, 2014). The average age of the teenagers who enter the United States illegally as part of human trafficking process is between 12 and 13 years (UNODC #1, 2014). Human trafficking is the third largest international crime only next to drug trafficking and arms trafficking. Human trafficking is estimated to generate more than $30 billion every year. Of that amount, more than $15 billion is generated in the developed countries (Hernandez and Rudolph, 2015). 55% of all the people who are trafficked are women and 45% are men (UNODC #1, 2014). Apart from the USA, other major destinations for human trafficking are Japan, Thailand, China, Germany, Greece, Russia, Belarus, Romania, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

Sex Trafficking

Sex Trafficking as discussed above, is the most prolific form of human trafficking. Most of the women trafficked are from the South East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Indonesia. Although direct statistics are not available, it is estimated that the maximum number of girls is trafficked out of China. It is also estimated that sex trafficking plays a big role in spreading HIV (CFR, 2014). It is an important thing to note that we have more female slaves in modern day world than any time in the human history. Among 40 million estimated sex slaves, 13 million are children (Marinova and James, 2012). One of the largest number of sex trafficking happens from North Korea to China. Every year hundreds of thousands of North Korean women are trafficked into China for sex. Many are also trafficked to the Eastern European countries and the EU Zone. Among these millions of victims, almost 30,000 die every year while they are trafficked or because of abuse, disease and extreme torture (Hernandez and Rudolph, 2015). Sex slaves who are sold to industrialized countries are sold at a price as low as $10,000 (CFR, 2014). Often the human trafficker can get that money back by using the girl for sexual exploitation within a few days. It is estimated that in countries like Netherlands and the US, many sex trafficker makes close to $250,000 a year through sex trafficking process (Hernandez and Rudolph, 2015).

Other Forms of Human Trafficking

After the end of the Cold War, because of many small regional level fights, the number of cases of human trafficking has gone up significantly. For example, it is a well-known fact that Taliban used to buy children for military actions and to increase the number of Taliban soldiers. According to a 2009 article in Washington Times, Taliban bought children as young as seven year old for as low as $7,000 (CFR, 2014). Also, groups like Boca Haram are known to buy teenage boys and girls for the same purpose and for sexual exploitation.
Two new trends are emerging in the human trafficking process. Firstly, there is an increase in the number of cases of people being trafficked for the purpose of donation of organs. In fact, many children are victims of organ donation (Askola, 2010). This is becoming a big network day by day. Also, there is a growing trend to traffick pregnant women. This is because traffickers sells babies to couples with no children, doctors and to research facilities.


One of the major reasons for human trafficking is poverty. For example, a large percentage of women in China live in poor condition and human traffickers often give them rosy pictures about their future life in other countries and high potential for earning money and lure them into the web of human trafficking. Due to high level of poverty in countries like India, Sub Saharan countries and South East Asian countries, even mothers sell their children into the hands of human traffickers for a meagre amount (Campbell, 2013). In many cases, human traffickers use brutal force. In almost 46% of the cases, human traffickers are known to the victims and they are able to manipulate the sentiments and constraint of the victim or their parents. 54% of the human traffickers are strangers to the victims and in almost all such cases, the human trafficking happens in lieu of some monetary transaction (CFR, 2014).
One of the major issues with human trafficking is that many a times traffickers are able to get away even after they are caught, but victims mostly spend time in jail for illegally entering a country or being part of a sex racket or human trafficking racket (Campbell, 2013).

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is the largest transnational crime in terms of the number of lives it touches and the value of the industry among all the transnational crimes. Compared to 30,000 deaths every year due to abuse, torture and disease in the human trafficking industry, it is estimated that almost close to 183,000 die in drug trafficking. The majority of those die from substance abuse and group infighting (UNODC #1, 2014). In 2012, the United Nations Office reported that almost 5% of the world population or close to 300 million people have used illicit drugs like cannabis, opioid, cocaine and meth. Drug trafficking market is estimated at around $2 trillion (UNODC #1, 2014). Among all the traded goods in the world, drug comes second to oil trade and at par with arms trade. The USA attracts highest amount of drugs. The total estimated market size of cocaine in the USA is $37 billion followed by marijuana and opiates (UNODC #1, 2014). Most of the drugs used in the US market are illegally imported. About 4,001 kilograms of cocaine and amphetamines arrived into the US market in 2012 from countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, India, Switzerland, Australia and Japan. However, those countries are mostly not the primary source of the drugs. For example, Switzerland does not produce any cocaine, but it gets the drug from some other countries such as Afghanistan or Iran. Cannabis mostly came to the US market from Nepal and Romania in 2012. Lysergic acid came from Italy and the Caribbean countries (UNODC #2, 2013).
Two major drug trafficking routes are known as “The Golden Triangle” and “The Golden Crescent”. Golden Triangle route is a route for trafficking opiates from the South East Asian countries to China and other East Asian countries and then finally to the US and Canada (UNODC #1, 2014). These countries also export substantial amount of opiates to Australia. On the other hand, these countries receive cocaine from the South American countries and then illegally export those drugs to local countries such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. Golden Crescent is the route through which opiates travel from Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries to Russia and then ultimately to the Mainland European countries (UNODC #1, 2014).
Apart from these two major drug trafficking routes, cocaine routes are more prevalent from South America and Africa. Countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil are major the source countries for cocaine (Jacques and Wright, 2011). Often cocaine from these countries first arrives at countries that do not produce any cocaine. In many cases, countries such as Denmark, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Caribbean Countries are the first destination of these drugs. Then from these countries, it is trafficked to major markets like the USA, Germany, Italy, France and Australia (Badano, 2013). Mexico is another country with a huge cocaine market and most of the cocaine is exported to the US market. It is estimated that on a typical drug trade a seller makes 1200% profit on the price (UNODC #1, 2014). However, because of many layers involved in the trafficking process, the actual profit may be less.

Arms Trafficking

Arms trafficking is a major problem of the modern day world. In fact, it is estimated that the total market size of illegal trafficked arms may be almost equal to that of legal arms trades. Unlike drug trade and sex trafficking trade, developed nations are not at all big markets for arms trade. Two major markets for arms trade till the 1990s were the Gulf region Arabian countries and South East Asian countries. However, in the last two decades, the arms trade has changed drastically. Central and Sub Saharan Africa have become one of the major markets along with Eastern European countries and Central Asian countries (Thachuk, 2007).
As 9 out of the top 10 arms companies are based out of the United States, so the USA has become the major source for weapons. Russia used to be the major source of arms trafficking. Especially, Russian arms were vastly used during the 1990s and early 2000s by most of the terrorist groups in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Africa. However, currently, most of the weapons used by the terrorist organizations are manufactured in the USA (Tishler, 2013). Apart from the USA, other major supply points for arms trafficking are Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa. For example, M-16, one of the most popular weapons among terrorists, is produced only in the USA. AK-47 and AK56 are also very popular among terrorists and are trafficked from Russia mostly (Tishler, 2013).
The major trash of the US weapons went to the underground arms trafficking market when the US helped the Afghanistan government with arms which eventually went into the hands of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Similarly, weapons provided by the US to Iraqi military forces eventually made its way to ISIS (Tishler, 2013). To stop ISIS rebels, the US is now planning to arm the Syrian rebels. These weapons may again boost the underground arms trafficking trade once the conflict is over.

Other Types of Trafficking

Apart from the top three types of crimes discussed, there are many other forms of transnational crimes. Cybercrime is increasingly becoming a concern for many governments. In cybercrime, a person hacks into a system illegally. This may be a system located in some other country. In a cybercrime, a person after committing the crime may flee and seek refuge to other country. In the past, cybercrimes were organized mostly by individuals or small groups and the intentions in many cases were not harmful (Interpol, 2014).
However, in recent years, cybercrime has become more organized. Many terrorist organizations have cybercrime teams who hack into systems of government organizations to lay hands on confidential information or commit fraud. The number of cyberattacks has increased drastically in recent years. A study conducted by the United Nations (2014) found that in the last 10 years, homicide has increased by close to 5% annually, whereas the number of global cybercrimes has increased by 70% annually during the same period (UNODC #2, 2013). This will become more prevalent in the coming years.

International Criminal Law

Often countries work in silos and do not understand the deep impact of transnational crimes and why a different approach is required to tackle transnational crimes. For example, after 9/11 attack, the US took all types of measures to tighten the security at airports and improved its intelligence so that terrorist attacks can be prevented but the USA forgot that transnational crimes are vastly responsible for supporting terrorist organizations. For example, most of the money Al-Qaeda and Taliban make is through the trade of opiates trafficking to other countries including the USA. That money is then used to buy arms through arms trafficking. Instead of increasing the security at the airport, if the US would have taken more measures to prevent drug trafficking, then terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and many others would have faced severe financial crisis. It would have been difficult for them to buy arms from the black market without money.
International criminal law should be implemented to address this type of crimes. In fact, the United Nations has already proposed an international criminal law framework. This deals with genocide, transnational crimes, war related crimes and crime of aggression (ICLS, 2013). This describes the proposed relationships between two states, rights of each state and responsibilities of each state in case of an international crime (ICLS, 2013). International Criminal law is addressed to punish individuals and not nations as of now. International Criminal Court is responsible to provide justice in case of international crimes. Apart from that, there are special international crimes courts created for Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Cambodia, Lebanon and Kosovo to address specific issues (ICLS, 2013). As of January 2015, 123 states have joined the statute of the international criminal court. Official place for the court is in The Hague, Netherlands, but the proceedings can take place elsewhere also (ICLS, 2013). However, even after signing the international treaty, no country is bound by its clause. UNODC has created an international consortium to address the issue at an international level. However, many drug source countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Congo, Venezuela and Nigeria are not part of it and so the chances of drugs flowing from these countries to other destinations remain same. Israel, Sudan and the USA have come out of the UN International criminal court treaty recently (ICLS, 2013). India and China have criticized the court (ICLS, 2013). Because of political and other differences, at the international level, creating something to stop transnational crimes is still a dream. In the meantime, transnational crimes will continue to flourish and criminals will roam around freely.


Transnational crimes are not a new phenomenon and have been in practice for centuries. However, the number of transnational crimes committed in the modern day world is at all-time high. There are more sex slaves now than at any time in the human history. Drug trafficking, human trafficking and arms trafficking are the three major types of transnational crimes. Apart from those three, other transnational crimes like cybercrimes are on the rise. Drugs are one of the largest traded commodities in the world along with oil and arms. Because of the involvement of many countries, it is not easy to stop these types of crimes. The United Nations has created an International Court and International Criminal Law to tackle such problems. However, because of social, political and economic differences, countries across the world are unable to adapt this law and implement it unanimously. This is helping the traffickers even more as they know that there will be a considerable chance that they will be able to get away even after committing crimes related to transnational trafficking. Till the time, nations understand the importance of collaboration for a safer world; we will be unable to curb transnational crimes.


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