What does “transnational crime” really mean? This is not the average crime committed by an individual, but rather a crime that is seen by the country offended as an infringement on its fundamental values that govern it. This type of crime does not only affect the offended country but also has ripple effects across national borders hence the name “transnational”. As many as fifty-two activities fall under the umbrella of transnational crime, from arms smuggling to human trafficking to environmental crime.
As the world moves in direct response to the era of technology, people find ways to commit crimes that will help them make ends meet; I believe these crimes are caused by an inner motive to survive (with this just being a fundamental cause) but in the modern world certain factors now motivate crimes and this includes technology, globalization, corrupt leaders, ignorance, etc. Technology has now found a place in our everyday lives and has bettered our standard of life exponentially, but it also comes with its demerits. Currently technology through the use of the internet bridges the communication gap across regions and helps people transact business with other individuals without any sort of physical contact or presence. Unfortunately in Africa due to the rise in unemployment over the past decades, members of the youth have taken it upon themselves to establish work avenues in the internet cafes. They then act as professional business men and women, potential partners seeking love and friendship, and roam the corners of the internet searching for unaware prey to devour. If their cards are played properly they end up getting huge sums of money which they did not work for, apart from the dubious schemes they conceived with their brain for which we could give them some credit for.
The next cause for the rise in transnational crime is nothing new to the third world. Corrupt leaders in Africa have contributed a greater quota to most crimes in and across countries. Leaders always promise to move their countries forward, and they always do but towards the direction of corruption. Although the laws enacted by the leaders are meant to be obeyed by all, leaders always find ways to abuse the power they have. Leaders are influenced by the corrupt people who do not follow the standards set in the country, and thereby endanger the whole populace in their bid to carry out their illegal activities. The effects of these activities could then spill over to surrounding nations and ignite international conflicts.
This brings us to globalization. The dynamics of globalization have led to the rapid execution of transactions and more efficient ways to move people and goods across national borders. This has then led to the increase in legitimate transnational enterprises as well as illegal ones. Since globalization has focused on the improvement of networking, telecommunication and movement of goods, there is a high probability that crimes will now require less effort to be undertaken. Globalization has then helped to strengthen the demand for illegal goods and services, and has also generated incentives for corrupt leaders and individuals to engage in it.
“Thus as the world becomes increasing interconnected and interdependent, the nation-states seem to be losing more of the sovereignty and autonomy as formal control systems are weakened and diluted” (Jessop 2004).
Globalization has also opened up networks that have led to unparalleled scales of crime which are a result of better planning and organization of transnational crime – crime which is now better executed across borders and is obstructing justice and affecting peace, security and stability wherever it occurs. The strategic location of West Africa for example has led to it becoming a transit point for drug traffickers between the suppliers in South America and the consumers in Europe, and what has this led to – a growing potential for political instability which complements the economic instability and financial chaos that reign supreme in most West African states. This has negatively affected the operations of both local and international organizations and investors because these people cannot be assured of peace and stability for their activities. Transnational crime also degrades the rule of law and law enforcement structures by insidiously downplaying the effectiveness and authority of state institutions.
I believe that the effective cooperation between African states and the international community and regional organizations will be the first step to tackling this problem. This will put systems in place that will build and sustain higher levels of communication, information-sharing, crime prevention, investigation, law enforcement and border management. Local police and other law enforcement agencies should also be incorporated with specialized units from international organizations like the UN to strengthen the capacity of peace and security operations in nations, especially the oil-producing nations and the countries that rely extensively on their ports for national revenue. All this should not be done in isolation; issues of sustainable livelihood and challenges of poverty, health, education, security and under-development should be tackled in order to provide citizens with information, knowledge and skill-sets that will increase their standard of living and decrease participation in criminal activities. Finally, I think European and American governments should handle the consumption and production of illegal arms and drugs in their countries, since these activities create the demand across continents with African coasts being targeted as the “marketplace” due to ineffective governments and corrupt leaders. Most transnational crime in Africa receive funding or illegal assistance from sources outside Africa implying that these criminals’ operations are very dependent on their sponsors; destroying the roots of these activities could go a long way to obstructing the activities of transnational criminals.
Post By: Chris Nana Ampadu and Alfred K. Gaglo