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Transnational Crime Harms All Communities


This illegal economy accounts for as much as 8 to 15 percent of world GDP.

The Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program offers rewards of up to $5 million for information on significant transnational criminal organizations.

As the world has grown increasingly interconnected, fast-evolving technologies, globalization, and trade liberalization have all but removed many traditional barriers to free movement of goods and people, and facilitated rapid transnational business, trade, and banking transactions. More and more, transnational criminal organizations are able to exploit this new freedom to commit transnational crimes.

“Today’s reality across the global threat environment is one of convergence: where criminals and illicit traders are networked across borders and are continuously expanding their tentacles to all parts of the world, infiltrating public and market-based institutions alike,” said David Luna, Senior Director for Anticrime Programs at the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

This illegal economy accounts for as much as 8 to 15 percent of world GDP. It distorts local economies, undermines legitimate business revenues, and fuels conflict.

Proceeds from criminal activities are frequently disguised and used to purchase assets such as real estate. We can, through asset recovery, prevent the infiltration of criminal money into the legitimate economy.

Three years ago, recognizing the expanding size, scope, and influence of transnational criminal organizations, the Obama Administration released the Strategy to Combat Trans-national Organized Crime, which, among other things, “calls for the U.S. government and our international partners to work together to combat transnational illicit networks, and take that fight to the next level by breaking their corruptive power, attacking their financial underpinnings, stripping them of their illicit wealth, and severing their access to the financial system,” said Mr. Luna.

We have introduced the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, which offers rewards of up to $5 million for information on significant transnational criminal organizations.

We are cooperating with our international partners to exchange law enforcement intelligence and information, and to facilitate mutual legal assistance.

And we continue to strengthen our cooperation with our partners and international institutions, such as the G-7, European Union, Interpol, and the OECD Task Force on Charting Illicit Trade.

“We live in a world in which legal business transactions and legitimate commerce both facilitate and feed off the illegal economy,” said Mr. Luna. “If we are not vigilant, the illegal economy presents an existential threat that we cannot afford to ignore.”
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