Transnational organized crime a key global security threat, warns INTERPOL

In a press briefing at INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore on March 27, secretary-general Jurgen Stock warned that the world is currently facing “the potential of an epidemic of organized crime”.

Stock said: “In recent months, we have seen Ecuador and Haiti come under threat from organized crime. 

“Some cities in Northern Europe – particularly those near ports – are seeing violence and corruption driven by organized crime groups bringing in drugs and other illicit goods.

“Record drug seizures around the world, and of course the explosion of human trafficking fueled fraud.

“What began as a regional crime threat in Southeast Asia has become a global human trafficking crisis, with millions of victims, both in the cyber scam centers and as targets.

“Driven by online anonymity, inspired by new business models and accelerated by COVID, these organized crime groups are now working at a scale that was unimaginable a decade ago.”

Stock said drug trafficking businesses contributed 40 to 70 percent of the criminal groups’ income. Increasingly, transnational criminal groups are moving away from traditional illicit drugs and into the production and trafficking of illicit synthetic drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine.

According to Stock, the future of drug trafficking is very much synthetic drugs because they are easy and cheap to produce, and easy to smuggle. INTERPOL is working actively with member countries, including the U.S., to counter this serious threat.

Stock said that with the globalized nature of societies, economies and industries, there is an increase in borderless crimes, which rarely remain confined within isolated jurisdictions. He emphasized that this borderless nature of the crimes called for a global response, as “we have seen that when there is a global response, there are results.”

Stock gave the example of the INTERPOL Cooperation Against ’Ndrangheta, the I-CAN project, that targeted one of the most extensive and powerful criminal organizations in the world, which has resulted in the arrest of 97 key ’Ndrangheta figures in 28 countries in just a few years. He said this is a “concrete demonstration that even the most powerful organized crime groups can be dismantled when police cooperate at the global level.”

Photo credit: Lee Kok Leong. INTERPOL secretary-general Jurgen Stock during press briefing March 27.

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