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Transnational Crime and Law Enforcement


TransnationalCrime and Law Enforcement


Transnationalcrimes involve violation of laws and regulations of several countriesin their effect, planning, and execution. The crimes are distinctfrom the local offences because they affect many countries, thereforethey cause unique challenges in creating prevention techniques,understanding causes of the problems, as well as developing effectiveintervention methods. Transnational crimes are classifiable intothree large groups including distribution of illegal services (humantrafficking and commercial sex), government and business infiltration(corruption, fraud, racketeering, and money laundering), andsupplying prohibited commodities (such as counterfeit products,outlawed drugs, weapons smuggling, and distributing stolen property).The main characteristics of these crimes is the fact they normallyinvolve several autonomous countries and with different rules andregulations, thereby making it hard to develop a common solution toaddressing the issue. In addition, transnational crime is distinctfrom the international crime, which may also involve many countries,but mainly refers to crimes against humanity such as terrorism andgenocide.

TransnationalCrime and Law Enforcement

Transnationalcrimes are criminal disturbances that could be intra-state, but ithas a potential impact for violating the international communityvalues. Transnational crimes can be a serious menace to the lawenforcers because it involves criminal activities that intercrossinternational borders. In some cases, transnational crimes mayinvolve criminal activities that are perpetrated in one nation, buttheir effects are experienced in the international communities.Security officials associate transnational crimes to a variety ofproblems such as differing societal and cultural conditions.According to Finckenauer (2000), the globalization of an economy,enhanced communication technology, as well as increased heterogeneityand number of immigrants are major causes of the problem. The authorasserts that these factors do not cause transnational crime, but itprovides criminal elements with an opportunity to executetransnational criminal activities. For instance, commercial sexworkers from one country can take advantage of the permissiveimmigration laws to relocate into another country that has prohibitedprostitution.

Howtransnational crime factors impact criminal justice agencies

Oneof the ways transnational crime factors influences criminal justiceagencies include disturbing the free markets. The transnationalcriminals perform their trade through making it parallel to the legalbusiness. In the recent past, globalization has made countries suchas the US and the European Union sign free trade agreements thatpermit traders to import and export products from either countrieswith limited limitations (Terrill, 2009). However, since illegaltraders are taking advantage of the free trade agreements to shipillegal products, countries with free trade agreements, aresometimes, forced to cancel or halt the operation of a tradeagreement temporary. However, many countries such as the US havedeveloped strict measures that involve a physical inspection of theproducts moving in and out of the country. The improved securitymeasures discourage free trade, especially, because the manualinspection of each import is time consuming.

Second,transnational crime has made maintaining stable social orderchallenging. For example, guns and drug smuggling are some of themost favored product by smugglers because the products often have aready market internationally. In many cases, drug smugglers, violentrobbers, political defectors, and other persons who are prohibited bythe law to carry weapons are mainly the ones who purchase theweapons. The law enforcers often have challenges maintaining socialorder in regions where several people have powerful illegal weapons(Marine, 2011).

Third,transnational criminals may interfere with democratic vote-basedsystem. Many countries with porous borders and permissive laws thatallow aliens and heterogeneous immigrants to acquire citizenshipeasily find it challenging to control the voting pattern. Countriesthat allow free immigration cannot achieve democratic voting becausethe foreigners often influence the outcome of elections (Marine,2011).

Fourth,the transnational crime offers a loophole for channeling away theresources of the country. According to Terrill (2009), manycountries, in Africa, with abundant natural mineral resources such asthe Central African Republic, Liberia, and Ivory Coast have lostabundant wealth to transnational crime trade in the form ofsmuggling. Blood diamonds and gold are exported from war zones to thewestern market.

Fifth,criminal justice systems of stable countries allocate many resourcesin maintaining law and order. For example, the United States allocatehuge budget to curtailing smugglers using advanced technology andindividuals taking advantage of globalization to benefit from theillegal trade (Walterbach, 2007).

Sixth,jurisdictional arbitrage provides a hideout for criminals breakingintellectual property rights. Despite the fact that some countrieshave strict regulations, that prevents counterfeit and smugglingactivities, but weak regulations in neighboring countries make ithard for one justice system to suppress criminal activities in theentire region. Transnational crime perpetrators often operate fromcountries with weak policies and unstable justice, but their targetsare mainly stable countries with strong economies (Walterbach, 2007).

Comparisonand analysis of the factors influencing criminal justice system

Themost influential transnational crime factor on the social justicesystem is free market disruption. In the recent past, variousinternational business trade areas have been encouraging free tradeagreement for the benefit of people living in the regions. However,several criminals are taking advantage of the free trade agreementsto peddle illegal goods in the free trade zones. For example, thewidespread drug trade in countries such as Colombia and Mexico hashindered the free trade agreements between the United States and theLatin America (Walterbach, 2007). The American criminal justicesystem has established strict regulations that traders from theseregions must comply with in order to trade in the United States. Onthe same note, the US has invested costly measures in order to combatillicit trade. For example, the country has invested heavily oncybercrime research intended to develop advanced technology forcoping with criminal activities (Terrill, 2009).

The“jurisdictional arbitrage” is a significant weakness caused bydifference in administration policies used between two differentcountries. For example, countries with comprehensive anti-smugglingand counterfeit trade policies may find it challenging to eliminatethe trade if the neighboring nations have weak regulations. The bestway to overcome this challenge is through sharing information,harmonizing regulations and creating a joint anti-smuggling force todeal with smugglers. However, the dark side of “globalization”and “advanced technology” has made it extremely complex forcountries to prevent transnational criminals from interfering withthe free trade agreements (Marine, 2011).


Terrill,R. J. (2009). WorldCriminal Justice Systems: A Survey.Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Walterbach,M. (2007). “International Illicit Convergence: The Growing Problemof Transnational Organized Crime Groups` Involvement in IntellectualProperty Rights Violation,” FloridaState University Law Review.34 (2). 591-619.

Marine,J.F. (2011). “The Threats Posed By Transnational Crimes AndOrganized Crime Groups,” ResourceMaterial Resources.54(32). 26-53.