Mapping Criminal Networks

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Two assumptions about transnational crime disrupt the design of effective security policies worldwide: Assuming that corruption is mainly an economic issue in which private agents bribe officials, and assuming that only pure and “full time” criminals participate and sustain organized crime.

To interpret corruption as an economic problem is to forget the human costs. When drug traffickers bribe a town’s mayor or police chief, it allows for extortions, kidnappings, and mass murders. Similarly, when a firm bribes the director of a public hospital to obtain a contract, the best medicine and treatments are not provided. Both situations consist of bribes—the focus for law enforcement and prosecutors—but the social and human consequences are beyond the economic or corporative aspects that are usually analyzed.

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