The Western Balkans is a crossroads for the trafficking of many illicit commodities, and it is a geographical hub for the smuggling of migrants who are trying to enter Western Europe.
The Global initiative against transnational organised crime (GI-TOC) published a new report: “Spot Prices: Analysing flows of people, drugs and money in the Western Balkans“.
It provides a detailed overview of the prices and routes for drugs and migrants being smuggled through the Western Balkans and sheds light on the size of the profits generated and where the money is laundered.
This report contains a wealth of information gathered through field research and interviews carried out with current and former law enforcement officials, investigative journalists, researchers, local officials, migrants, drug users, and civil society representatives in the region.
There are a lot of interesting maps and visual presentations about migrant smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering. I hope you will enjoy it reading.
The EU Serious and organised crime threat assessment (SOCTA) 2021 is the outcome of a detailed analysis of the threat of serious and organised crime facing the EU, providing information for practitioners, decision-makers and the wider public. As a threat assessment, the SOCTA is a forward-looking document that assesses shifts in the serious and organised crime landscape.
The SOCTA 2021 sets out current and anticipated developments across the spectrum of serious and organised crime, identifies the key criminal groups and individuals involved in criminal activities across the EU and describes the factors in the wider environment that shape serious and organised crime in the EU.
The SOCTA 2021 provides an overview of the current state of knowledge on criminal networks and their operations based on data provided to Europol by Member States and partners and data collected specifically for the SOCTA 2021. In trying to overcome the established, and limiting, conceptualisation of organised crime groups, this assessment focuses on the roles of criminals within criminal processes and outlines how a better understanding of those roles allows for a more targeted operational approach in the fight against serious and organised crime.
Key findings of the report include:
Close to 40% of the criminal networks active in the EU are involved in the trade in illegal drugs.
Around 60 % of the criminal networks active in the EU use violence as part of their criminal businesses.
The use of corruption and the abuse of legal business structures are key features of serious and organised crime in Europe. Two thirds of criminals use corruption on a regular basis. More than 80 % of the criminal networks use legal business structures.
A whole section of the report is dedicated to The trade in illegal drugs in the EU.
Europol is the EU’s law enforcement agency and it assists the Member States in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism. Established in 2000, Europol is at the heart of the European security architecture and offers a unique range of services. Europol is a support centre for law enforcement operations, a hub for information on criminal activities, and a focal point for law enforcement expertise. Analysis is central to Europol’s activities. To give its partners deeper insights into the crimes they are tackling, Europol produces regular assessments offering comprehensive, forward-looking analyses of crime and terrorism in the EU.
As the space for civil society appears to be shrinking in the Western Balkans, this report looks at organized crime and corruption in the region from a civil society perspective. It aims to give an overview of how civil society organizations in the Western Balkans deal with issues related to organized crime and corruption and highlights their main activities and concerns.
The GI-TOC’s experience of engaging with community actors all over the world has shown that individuals and community groups are able to build their individual and collective capacity to respond to and recover from organized crime. This report shows that courageous and committed CSOs across the Western Balkans are doing the same, but would benefit from further support to help strengthen communities’ resilience.
More about the report is available from this video
GI TOC shall present the report at the webinar scheduled for Friday 19 Mar 2021 at 11 AM (CET). Interpretation to Albanian, Macedonian, and Bosnian-Montenegrin-Serbian will be available during the event.
This webinar will draw together insights from civil society actors from across the Western Balkans working on organized crime and corruption and identify good practices across the region. During the 90 minute discussion we will also explore how these organizations’ resilience can be strengthened and how CSOs themselves can contribute to strengthening resilience in their communities and across the region.