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Transnational Crime in the Pacific Islands: Real or Apparent Danger?

NCJ Number
Rob McCusker
Date Published
March 2006
6 pages
This report examines the prevalence of transnational crime at the regional level in the Pacific Islands.
The key issues dealing with the extent of transnational crime in the Pacific Islands are examined in this paper. These issues deal with five main areas. The first issue concerns the vulnerability of the Pacific Islands. The author posits that the region's economic weaknesses and the resulting consequences in terms of lack of infrastructure, poverty, and political instability may increase its attractiveness as a center for transnational crime. A second key issue regarding transnational crime in the Pacific Islands is the existence of corruption, especially among elected officials and public servants, which can make the region more favorable to organized crime groups. Third, weak banking systems, strong privacy laws, and the provision of offshore financial services have increased the region's attractiveness as a haven for money laundering activities. Fourth, the geographic proximity of the Pacific Islands to East Asia and South America, and the isolated nature of the Islands make them more susceptible as a shipping route for illicit trade in drugs, wildlife, arms, and human trafficking. A final issue regarding the extent of transnational crime in the Pacific Islands is the existence of terrorism. The geographic location and remoteness of the Islands make them more suitable as a direct target for terrorism or as an indirect facilitator of terror attacks on other countries. The need for future research in this area is discussed. Figures and references