Transnational Organized Crime

Transnational organized crime is a socio-political construct that emerged on government agendas in the 1990s and has since become established as a national security and international security ‘threat’. The activities associated with transnational organized crime are many and varied but primarily consist of various types of smuggling – drugs and people being the most reported types of contraband. This is also true of the perpetrators – organized criminals are also many and varied. They can be producers, refiners, distributors, importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers, pushers, financiers and enforcers who often have ‘upperworld’ allies such as corrupt police officers, politicians, customs officials, judges or bankers. Transnational criminal activities continue to evolve and respond to opportunities resulting from globalisation and technological advances. Local, regional, national and international law enforcement efforts are therefore continuously challenged.

The newly established stream aims to bring together a wide range of academics from various disciplines including law, history, criminology, politics and sociology to discuss transnational organized crime in a holistic manner. The overriding aim of the stream is to explore the concepts and trends which currently characterise transnational organized crime, as well as  to generate debate and discussion concerning the global crime control policies generated by Western countries in response to changing patterns of transnational organized crime.

Transnational organized crime is a constantly evolving construct and therefore the stream will be of continuing interest to participants as the papers presented will undoubtedly reflect current changes concerning the nature of transnational organized crime and the legislative and executive responses to it.  We hope that the stream will present participants with the opportunity to forge networks and collaborative links with one another, with the intention of conducting high impact innovative and challenging research.

Participants are invited to submit papers on subjects ranging from the human security dimensions of transnational organized crime control measures, to international legal frameworks and their effectiveness in combating transnational organized crime, to the historical evolution and conceptualisation of transnational organized crime. Substantive, methodological and theoretical papers are welcome. The aim is to generate a wide and varied discussion on a topic that is not going to diminish. We are expecting papers that raise clear and crisp socio-legal questions concerning transnational organized crime and offer concrete and innovative solutions to the problems raised.


Mary Young ( and Michael Woodiwiss (