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International Efforts Not Up to Combating Criminals, Shows CFR Interactive

July 10, 2012
Council on Foreign Relations


With transnational crime proliferating at unprecedented levels, costing by some estimates over $2 trillion, or between roughly three and four percent of global GDP, a multimedia resource from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) reveals gaps in the international anticrime system.

This new component of the Global Governance Monitor uses images, video, and interactive maps to track transnational crime and finds the following weaknesses:

—Archaic System: Authorities are struggling to keep up with nimble criminal networks empowered by the most advanced technology.

Implementation Gaps: Attempts to enhance global law enforcement and judicial cooperation remain fragmented.

Uneven Norms: While robust international rules have been adopted against drug trafficking and money laundering, other sectors, such as cyber crime and illicit weapons, lack focus.

—Weak Anticorruption Efforts: The international community has failed to enforce agreements to combat corruption, and national leaders who benefit from criminal networks are unwilling to fight it.

Produced by the International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program, the guide recommends streamlining international enforcement efforts by establishing a trust fund for independent data collection, bolstering anti–money laundering regulations, and combating criminal impunity through an international judicial framework.

"This is the first comprehensive assessment of efforts to tackle transnational organized crime, pointing out pockets of effectiveness in an otherwise insufficient multilateral system," explains Senior Fellow and IIGG Director Stewart M. Patrick.

Like those before it, the transnational crime component includes:

—A brief video explaining the challenges presented by transnational crime and the urgency for strengthening international efforts to combat it.

—A graphic timeline tracing the history of transnational crime, from tobacco smuggling under Russia's Peter the Great to present networks

—An issue brief summarizing the regime's strengths and weaknesses, with steps the United States should take to bridge gaps

—A matrix cataloging international agreements, institutions, and organizations related to crime, including their strengths, and shortcomings

—An interactive map detailing flashpoints in transnational crime, such as human trafficking in Ukraine, criminal violence in Mexico, and counterfeit trade in China

—A list of resources providing foundational texts, essential documents, recent articles, and CFR experts on the subject

View the new component at The entire monitor, exploring the nonproliferation, finance, oceans governance, climate change, conflict prevention, public health, counterterrorism, and human rights regimes, can be found at

Produced in collaboration with MediaStorm, the feature is made possible by a generous grant from the Robina Foundation.

More CFR interactives can be found at:


The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

The International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program at the Council on Foreign Relations aims to identify the institutional requirements for effective multilateral cooperation in the twenty-first century.

MediaStorm is a production company whose principal aim is to usher in the next generation of multimedia storytelling by publishing social documentary projects incorporating photojournalism, interactivity, animation, audio and video for distribution across multiple media.

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