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Arms Smuggling as a Form of Transitional Organized Crime


National and international security is being threatened by the recent rise in transitional organized crimes ‘TOC’. The most tragic reality is the fact that the general public is the most vulnerable to the implications TOCs. Organized crimes can take different forms and can be described in various approaches.

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Interestingly, organized criminal activities normally take the form of a business enterprise (McClean 2011). This paper will be discussing in general the different types or forms of transitional organized crimes but more specifically smuggling of small arms. In this research, different and extensive research on the effects of all types of crimes in a general angle will be discussed. The intention of this research is aimed to prove that arms smuggling is a transitional organized criminal activity even though there have been little efforts to address the issue in this light.

Mostly, organized crimes are structured like business entities and include normally a big chain of network. This characteristic makes them so difficult to with some disguising as religious groups. In the third world countries, the rising number of transitional organized crimes is influenced and facilitated by political factors. In the Asian countries, religious beliefs take precedence in the factors that contribute to formation of this terror gangs.

In both situations it becomes very difficult to define or rule out the activities carried out by these groups as they always have a legal inclination in their formation. This kind of inclination is normally used by organized criminals to act as a guide from the real activities which in most cases are illegal. These paper sets to discuss how small arms smuggling has affected the social, economical and political well being globally.

Effects of transitional organized crimes

Transitional organized crimes have proved to be a global threat to security and even economical developments. The most critical effect of the TOCs is that with its existence, trading normalcy is greatly altered. The ultimate result would be that the entire trading system may collapse or experience really difficult time.

Organized crimes have an exploitative characteristic which contravenes and causes harm to the normal legitimate market structure. Legitimate traders are at a risk of losing in the business due to high and unfair competition with the TOCs that are characterized by corrupt and illegitimate dealings. Where the rule of law is undermined, legitimate businesses are threatened and transitional organized crimes are more or less illegal business enterprises.

Nations that are challenged by the global problem of TOCs experience hiked cost of doing business. This by giving companies the burden to incur extra cost while trying to address the insecurity issue.

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With the increased cost of operations caused by the existence of TOCs, the economical trends are interfered. It is important to establish the fact that organized crime just like a business entity is driven the aim of making profits and acquiring power and economic control. This is the same with the legal business entities only that organized crimes engage in illegal activities and they use exploitative methods to acquire what they want.

Many organized gangs are symbolized by unemployed young people who come together to form a small sort of a government with hierarchical positions just as in the national governance. In the developing countries this has become so common especially in the political arena as political elite fight to contest for power and political positions.

Forms of transitional organized crimes

There are numerous known forms of organized crimes today in the national as well as the global scene. The emphasis on the negative impacts of these crimes can not be overlooked or ignored at any cost. Organized crimes are a threat to national and international security. Instances of organized crimes violate and contravene the integrity of humanity. Transitional crimes are of different forms and are categorized differently according the activities the perpetrators are involved in.

These crimes are manifested in quite a number of forms including; drug trafficking, smuggling fire arms and human trafficking. Transitional organized crimes are a big challenge to the financial systems as they include money laundering in very higher extent. Drug trafficking is one of the biggest form of international organized criminal activity (Gregor, Cavanagh, Gennero & Inciardi 2012).

Like any other business entity, persons involved in drug trafficking are highly driven by profits as mentioned earlier in this research. Undoubtedly, drug trafficking is quite profitable and requires a lot of planning and organization. The exchange of money in drug trafficking alone is enough to cause inflation in a country and destabilise the entire economical structure.

Human trafficking as well is more prevalent especially in the Asian countries more specifically China. This involves transportation and sale of humans as cheap labor illegally. Human trafficking infringes the very human rights meant to be enjoyed by all (Hallums 2012). Fire arms smuggling as will be discussed later in this paper is also another way through which organized crimes are being perpetrated.

Small firearms crimes

The spread of small and light fire arms has been on the rise in the recent past a factor that has seen the rising conflicts in many developed and undeveloped countries. As they are mostly referred to, illicit fire arms are a threat to national and international security as (Hofer 2012). This is so considering the impacts the existence of these arms in the hands of civilians. Proliferation of light firearms in Sri Lanka for example has crippled the entire economy.

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Illegal possession of illegal arms fuels the prevalence of crime and creates an uncertainty with regards to security. Fire arms crimes include robbery, extortion, assassinations and intimidations to the general public. Many cases regarding armed men robbing on the streets, in banks and highway robberies have become common.

Guns related murders have increased in the recent past a according to Leslie (2012). The highest percentage of fire arms in any country are mostly brought into the country illegally. However, study has shown that while the firearms find their ways illegally into a country, the ammunitions are legally acquired then illegally sold into the black market. This has been the challenges facing the Jamaican authorities currently as they try deal with illegal possession of firearms (Leisle, 2012).

This therefore proves that not only does organized crime involve legal instances; it also involves branches of the government security agency personnel. Proof for this is evident when the Jamaican authorities found out in 2010 that the majority of guns and ammunitions confiscated that year originated from the government’s central armory.

Factors influencing the prevalence of small arms crimes

Several factors have seen the spread of firearms crimes in the world today. Drug trafficking is a transitional organized crime in its own has seen the increase in firearms ownership. Like I mentioned earlier in this research, drug trafficking involves very high turnovers in profit. This means that the drug lords are extremely wealthy and the business involves transactions of huge amounts of money. This has empowered the drug lords to put them in positions of political influence.

With people of such insensitive characters in power, then it is easier for the rule of law to loose its grip on them and hence they cunningly take advantage of their legal positions to curry out illegal deals.

This unfortunate situation has led to the proliferation of firearms in many countries. Wealthy tycoons who run criminal gangs for their motives to benefits themselves have led to the wide spread of the use of guns for criminal activities (Moffit,

Malouf & Thompson 2012). Poverty on the other hand also contributes immensely to the spread of use of guns. In third world countries, the young people are more vulnerable to falling into the traps of the older tycoons who manipulate them for their benefits. Young people living in poverty can not resist the temptation of money regardless of the means and ways to get it (Fortunato 2012). They will go to every length and exhaust possible options to alleviate themselves and their poor families from poverty. This is how the rich tycoons get their way into enticing the young men into illegal or rather illicit trade in guns.

Countries like Sudan are currently experiencing the harsh effects of the prolonged civil war the longest in our days and time. Child soldiers recruited into the insurgence were children living in gross poverty. With this knowledge, it is therefore apparent that they could not under whichever circumstances afford to purchase a firearm (Castle 2012).

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This leaves only one assumption, the rich tycoons who can afford to provide guns made the purchases and the child soldiers were forced to use the guns with vague promises of liberation from the same poverty they are suffering today. The need to come out of poverty is a major reason for vulnerability. The African-American communities are more associated with firearms smuggling compared to the whites. This is caused by the same reasons of poverty levels in the back communities.

Another factor that has contributed to the increase in firearms crimes includes education (Ellis 2009). An educated population is less likely to be involved in smuggling of firearms compared to the opposite situation. Just as described above on how poverty influences the spread of firearms, education s a major contributor of economic stability.

Economic stability provides parameters that regulate and influence the level of poverty in a country. With largely educated population the poverty levels are expected to be low while the opposite is true in relation to financial stability (Gildea &Pierce 2007). This therefore shows that in countries where the level of education is low then there are high chances of illegal activities. Firearms will be one of the many options considering the returns and profitability of this trade.

Social effects

The firearms trade is a threat to societal well being and has hazardous effects on the existence of humankind. The prevalence of firearms trade facilitates growth in criminal activities and raise in gangs of terror (O’Flaherty & Sethi 2012). This has negative implications on the existence of the people. Use of illegal arms is a crime that the government and the responsible authorities are dedicated to combating. Young people involved in such crimes will most likely be killed in their criminal activities.

This has tragic effects on the parents, relatives, friends and families of the deceased. Fire arms trade brings s sorrow and uncertainty in the society especially to the family from which the suspected gang comes from.

Robbery in most cases ends up in a number of deaths. The people who end up dead be it the robbers or the persons being robbed belong to a family that cares and depends on them (Freier 2012). Loss of lives is tragic to people who are close to the deceased regardless of the crime committed.

Crime breaks the social ties that connect humanity as the act itself is inhuman and is against the very human character. Human beings have a social responsibility to maintain harmonious existence and safeguard the rights of humanity. Criminal activities create tension among the population and mistrust crops-up. Societal values are broken when crime is prevalent and guns and more specifically small fire arms are the major contributors to this effect (Hamdani & Alon 2012)

Economical effects

Effects of firearms are not just social but also economical. The spread of firearms has numerous economical effects. Emphasizing the war tone Sudan, for more than a decade the country has been in internal war which saw the spread of fire arms rise to unmanageable levels (Pattugalan 2004). The fighting facilitated criminal activities gunning support from the rival insurgence. As the country was torn apart by war, no economical activities were going on in the country.

With high cases and high prevalence of criminal activities, investors are scared away and this highly affects the economic development of a country. Business can not thrive in an insecure and war torn environs (Darrly 2012).

For businesses to thrive there has to be security in a country and the threat of insecurity should be contained and put under controlled. Firearms trade gives a window for the prevalence of criminal activities that will more often than not, scare away potential investors (Inciardi 2012). Low business activities translate to low returns and ultimately lack of financial stability and poor income per capita. The government becomes unable to fund or carryout any infrastructural development.

Lack of infrastructure further frustrates the possibility of investments hence poverty (Mcconville 2007). Poverty as was described above is the root of crime. Illegal firearms are smuggled into a country illegally while the trade involves huge sums of money. This can crumble the entire economic structures of a nation and destabilize the economy living very difficult implications on the people.

Political effects

Politics is the root of all the problems we are facing today in respect to the growing rate of crimes associated with firearms. Selfish desires and greed have been the reason as to why many political aspirants are seeking votes and political positions. Self gain has become the motivation factor for running for any elective positions of power. Ambitious drug lords are using the authority and power vested in them to selfishly gain benefit themselves (Reece 2009).

This they do without any sense of moral obligations to safeguard the electorates’ interests. Focusing on Jamaica for example, most of the arms ceased by authorities have been traced back to have had come from the federal armory (Ramirez 2010). The government’s properties are strictly protected and their release follows a particular form of chain of command (NCAPISA 2008). This means that if anything goes wrong it can easily be traced from where the issue originated from.

This held, still there are loopholes event with the high rankings of the government officials. Firearms smuggling can not be carried by local people with no connections and contacts with the ‘high and mighty. Smuggling in most cases is carried out through the regular import-export terminus under the watch of government officials. Firearms trade poses a threat to political rivalry and can lead to political assassinations in times of campaigns.

A ‘guns’ population on the other hand is hazardous to the political stability. Prevalence of guns possession can have adverse implications one of the very many being civil wars (Shelley, Picarelli & Corpora 2003). Organized criminal gangs forming up and with the access to guns are very dangerous for the existence of a politically stable environment. Gangs who are unhappy with the political leadership may disrupt the country and sent it to civil war in rebellion movements guided as liberation struggles.

Growing insecurity

Due to the rise in firearms trade, the level of insecurity nationally and internationally has gone up. Arms smuggling is a form of transitional organized criminal activities that are threatening the peaceful existence of human race (United Nations 2006). Due to the rising levels of poverty caused by the prevailing increase in food prices and other basic commodities, people are finding it difficult to cope hence resolving to violent and criminal activities (Dandurand & Chin 2004).

Criminal activities provide the young people with an easy alternative to get rich. This notion with the reality that there are no more jobs available in the market to consume the ever increasing population of unemployed adults is the general contributing factor. Unemployment and the harsh economical situations currently cause a great deal of insecurity with the young people indulging in transitional organized crimes.

The growing insecurity will continue increasing if governments and the international security agencies will not move in fast to seal the loop holes that are giving the prevalence of crime a foothold (Tullis 2012). Firearms trade, drugs trafficking and human trafficking are major crimes against the general good of humanity.

These three crimes are directly intended to harm human beings. If they were controlled and prevented then the danger posed on humanity would be almost solved. It should be the governments’ prerogatives to protect and prevent human suffering in all forms (Tillman, Calavita & Henry 2012).


As identified in this paper, arms smuggling is a transitional organized crime as drug trafficking and human trade are. The effects of this crime have been pointed out and discussed extensively. With the results of this research, it is evident that the world is heading to a more delicate situation if things remain the same. Changes must be effected to give a fresh start on the policies that govern and reregulate arms licensing.

The importance of a guns free population can not be over emphasized considering the above mentioned implications and effects. This therefore calls for the international community to unite in the fight against transitional organized crimes unanimously and focus our resources on stopping its prevalence. The growth of these groups is tragic and can be of high risks in the long run. Ignoring the fight today may present challenges in future that may be difficult or impossible to unwind.


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