Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2009

Transnational Organized Crime

January 2009

International Peace Institute


Transnational organized crime (TOC) is no longer the sole preserve of specialist criminal organizations. It is now an essential strategy for armed groups around the world, and a source of funding for terrorists, corrupt politicians, warlords, and rogue governments. But states and international organizations have largely failed to anticipate the evolution of TOC into a strategic threat to governments, societies, and economies. At the international level, an outdated understanding of TOC does not adequately contemplate the strategic impact of TOC and fails to ensure that peace efforts and crime fighting are not working at cross-purposes.