• The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is the main international instrument in the fight against organized crime.
  • The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime or United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is also known as the Palermo Convention since it was adopted in Palermo in Italy in 2000.
  • The convention entered into force in 2003 after the required number of ratifications.
  • The idea behind having an international convention against organized crime was that if crimes could cross borders, so must law enforcement.
  • UNTOC enables cooperation between member states for tackling international organized crime.
  • All member parties to the convention must take measures including:
    • Creating domestic criminal offences, for example, participating in an organized criminal group, money laundering, obstructing justice, corruption, etc. are all made offences under the law.
    • Adopting frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation.
    • Promoting training and technical assistance for upgrading or building the adequate capacity of national authorities.
  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is the custodian of the UNTOC.
  • The UNTOC is supplemented by three Protocols, namely:
    • Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
      • Adopted in 2003, it is the first global legally binding instrument with an agreed definition of trafficking in persons.
    • Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air
      • Adopted in 2004, this protocol deals with the problem of organized criminal groups who smuggle migrants, often at high risk to the migrants and at great profit for the offenders.
    • Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition
      • Adopted in 2001, its objective is to promote, facilitate and strengthen cooperation among States in order to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition.
  • India ratified the UNTOC in 2011 becoming the fourth South Asian country to do so.
  • The nodal agency for all dealings with UNTOC is the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Global Flows of Transnational Organized Crime
Global Flows of Transnational Organized Crime

What is transnational organized crime?

  • Transnational organized crime is organized crime carried out across national borders. It involves individuals and/or groups who plan and execute illegal activities or businesses across international borders. These groups typically use a lot of violence and corruption.
  • Examples of transnational organized criminal activities include drug trafficking, arms trafficking, poaching, trafficking for sex, toxic wastebdisposal, etc.
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