Author(s)

Thin Lei Win

The Index is a podcast based around the Global Organized Crime Index, an online tool that ranks levels of criminality and resilience in 193 countries.

From drug trafficking and mafia-style crimes to criminal justice and security – In this series, we’ll take a deep dive into the Global Organized Crime Index with leading experts and look at some of the biggest organized crime threats facing countries and regions around the world. 


Subscribe to the dedicated newsletter to get regular updates about the project and the launch event

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, IUU Fishing, is a multi-billion dollar industry with links to modern slavery, corruption, environmental destruction, weak governance, complex corporate structures, illicit financial flows, tax abuse and financial secrecy - which makes it a perfect environment for transnational organized criminal networks to operate.

In this episode Thin is joined by two experts to discuss the impact of IUU fishing in the region of Oceania, which covers Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islanders - a region that relies in the fisheries industry.

Presenter: Thin Lei Win

Speakers:

Ian Urbina, Investigative journalist, Author and Director of The Outlaw Ocean Project - Twitter.

Dr. Jade Lindley, Specialist in Transnational Organised Crime at the University Of Western Australia Law School and a member of the GI Network of Experts - Twitter.

Additional Links:

IUU Fishing Index

The Outlaw Ocean Project

OCIndex.net

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Over the past three years, Insight Crime have been investigating the relationship between the cocaine trade and Venezuela. Part of this investigation focuses in on the role of the state – some state actors who are actively involved, other senior state actors who allow and enable the cocaine to flow.

According to the Global Organized Crime Index – Venezuela sits 18th out of 193 countries around the world for levels of criminality. And is one of only 16 countries that scored NINE or higher out of ten when it comes to state-embedded actors playing a role in illegal activities.

In this episode Thin sits down with Jeremy McDermott, co-founder and co-director of Insight Crime to talk about their investigation and about the link between criminal actors and officials within the Venezuelan government.

Presenter: Thin Lei Win

Speakers:

Jeremy McDermott, Co-founder and Co-director of Insight Crime and member of the GI Network of Experts - Twitter

Mariana Botero Restrepo, Analyst, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime - Twitter

Additional Links:

Insight Crime investigation - "Venezuela’s Move to Cocaine Production: Crops, Chemists and Criminal Evolution"

Venezuela Profile

OCIndex.net

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

How has organized crime changed between 2019 and 2021 on the African Continent?

This huge continent boasts a wealth of natural resources, biodiversity and a young population. But Africa is also a key source and transit hub for illicit goods and behaviour - from human trafficking to arms smuggling and from the illegal wildlife trade to environmental crimes.

In this episode Thin talks with Julian Rademeyer, the Director of the Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in East and Southern Africa at the GI-TOC.

Presenter: Thin Lei Win

Speakers:

Julian Rademeyer, Director of the Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in East and Southern Africa and author of 'Killing for Profit – Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade'.

Additional Links:

(Paper) Evolution of Crime in a Covid World: A comparative analysis of organised crime in Africa, 2019–2021

Africa Organized Crime Index

OCIndex.net

Ukraine has long been considered one of the largest arms trafficking markets in Europe, even before the current conflict. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, large stockpiles were left and fell into the hands of ordinary citizens, some were trafficked from Ukraine to the rest of Europe and beyond.

In this episode Thin will be asking the questions - how has the conflict affected the smuggling of weapons? And how will it continue to do so in the future?

Presenter: Thin Lei Win

Speakers:

Prof. Mark Galeotti, Principal Director of Mayak Intelligence, Honorary Professor at UCL and member of the GI Network of Experts.

Kathi Lynn Austin, former United Nations arms trafficking expert, founder and executive director of the non-profit Conflict Awareness Project and member of the GI Network of Experts.

Prof. Viatcheslav Avioutskii, ESSCA School of Management in France.

Additional Links:

Ukraine Profile

OCIndex.net

The Mekong Region spans six countries - China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This fertile land is rich in biodiversity, home to rare, threatened, and endemic species of animals and plants as well as pristine forests - but its also a global epicentre for environmental crimes and its having a devastating impact on local on local ecosystems.

How has the Mekong region become such a hub of environmental crimes? What is fuelling them? And how can we effectively fight them?

Presenter: Thin Lei Win

Speakers:

Trang Nguyen, founder and executive director of Vietnam-based non-governmental organisation, WildAct.

Simone Haysom, Senior Analyst and Thematic Lead on Environmental Crime at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Julian Newman, Campaigns Director at the Environmental Investigation Agency.

Additional Links:

China Profile

Myanmar Profile

Laos Profile

Vietnam Profile

Cambodia Profile

Thailand Profile

OCIndex.net

In 1992, Giovanni Falcone, a prominent anti-mafia judge was assassinated by the Cosa Nostra in Sicily. His death galvanised the country who demanded more action against mafia groups.

Over the years since Falcone's murder, Italy has developed a strong legislative framework against organised crime. Now there are multiple agencies who deal with this phenomenon and a strong and thriving civil society.

According to the Global Organized Crime Index, Italy is just one of nine countries around the world that has very high levels of criminality, but also has very high levels of resilience.

In Part 2 of our focus on Italy, we will focus on anti-mafia resilience.

Presenter: Thin Lei Win

Speakers:

Anna Sergi, Professor of Criminology & Organised Crime at the University of Essex and an expert on ‘Ndrangheta.

Luca Storti, Associate Professor of Economic Sociology at the University Of Torino, Italy; and visiting research fellow at King’s College in London.

Monica Usai, International Program Coordinator at Libera, a network of associations that is fighting organised crime and corruption. 

Additional Links:

Italy Country Profile

OCIndex.net

Libera

The interesting case of Italy.

Our view of the mafia has been distorted over the years by countless Hollywood movies. The reality is very different. Today, Italian mafia groups are entrenched in both the legal and illegal economy of the country. You may have heard of some of them, like the Camorra, ‘Ndrangheta or Cosa Nostra – but there are others like the Sacra Corona Unita or the Familia Basiliski, not to mention the Nigerian mafia or the Western Balkans criminal syndicates.

According to the Global Organized Crime Index, Italy has very high levels of criminality, but unusually also has very high levels of resilience.

And so over the next two podcasts we’re going to talk about Italy.

Part 1 will focus on criminality and mafia-style groups.

Presenter: Thin Lei Win

Speakers:

Anna Sergi, Professor of Criminology & Organised Crime at the University of Essex and an expert on ‘Ndrangheta.

Luca Storti, Associate Professor of Economic Sociology at the University Of Torino, Italy; and visiting research fellow at King’s College in London.

Monica Usai, International Program Coordinator at Libera, a network of associations that is fighting organised crime and corruption. 

Additional Links:

Italy Country Profile

OCIndex.net

Libera

For millennia Syria was at the heart of empires, but today the country has become synonymous with war.

Since the Arab Spring of 2011, the country has been in a state of civil war with competing armed actors with different aims and allegiances battling one another leaving staggering human misery in their wake.

The Syrian civil war has also created a perfect brewing pot for illicit activities, from the production of synthetic drugs to trafficking of both humans and arms. And state-backed actors are deeply involved in these activities and there is little oversight.

How did the war change the organised crime landscape in Syria? Who are the criminal actors today and how are they profiting from the conflict? And why do some people call Syria a “narco-state”?

Speaker:

Laura Adal, Head of Western Asia Programme, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. Laura also leads the development of the Organized Crime Index.

Presenter:

Thin Lei Win

Additional Links:

Syria Country Profile

(website) The Global Organized Crime Index

(paper) The Global Organized Crime Index

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

In early 2022, a small peaceful protest over rising fuel prices began in the large Central Asian country of Kazakhstan. In under a week the protest had spread across the country and turned violent. President Tokayev ordered the national forces to "shoot to kill, without warning” - at the end of the day at least 180 people were killed and thousands were injured.

How did the peaceful protest over fuel price rises escalate so quickly? And what does it have to do with organized crime? That is the question we are asking in this episode.

Speaker:

Dr Erica Marat, who is an associate professor at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defence University in Washington, DC. Where she specialises in security and military institutions in Eurasia, social mobilisation, and organised crime. She is also a member of the GI Network of Experts.

Presenter:

Thin Lei Win

Additional Links:

Kazakhstan country profile

(website) The Global Organized Crime Index

(paper) The Global Organized Crime Index

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime