WP9Organised crime and impact on vulnerable groups

This work package is led by the European University Institute. The first part investigates the relation between corruption and organised crime. There is abundant evidence that political corruption and organised crime are closely intertwined. Especially where criminal organisations have control over territories or markets, political actors have often entered into mutually profitable exchange relationships with criminals that sporadically expanded also to other areas of the country where significant economic interests are at stake, especially big infrastructural projects, public contracts, city planning etc. Furthermore, in many cases criminal organisations have set up their own companies in legal markets: construction, waste industry and health sectors are particularly vulnerable to criminal infiltration. Due to the penetration in legal markets, these organisations have progressively joined political-business networks, originally formed by politicians and entrepreneurs, which controlled the bidding processes of large-scale public works in some countries for many years. The relationship resembles an ‘iron triangle’, a sophisticated cartel in which each partner profited from votes, money, protection and public contracts. This work package draws on a variety of approaches in legal, anthropological and sociological work to unravel the impact of organised crime and corruption on public contracting and crime. It also analyses the effectiveness of legislation against organised crime.

The second part studies the impact of corruption on vulnerable groups, and in particular the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation and prostitution. Members of police forces throughout the EU engage in corrupt exchanges with prostitution networks, extorting bribes or even directly running brothels. Criminal networks use corruption to obtain information on investigations, ensure continuity of operations, or to develop monopolies in local markets. Immigration authorities, including embassy or border guards, have also been targeted to ensure legal entries or stays of prostitutes. In EU member states with legalised prostitution criminal groups have corrupted some local administrative authorities in order to avoid brothel regulations. This work package explores the patterns of corruption and anti-corruption in trafficking of women in EU in comparative perspective. A special focus will be put on researching gender sensitive options for fighting corruption employed by organised crime related to human trafficking, e.g. do gender sensitive anti-corruption measures (encouraging and enabling women to seek assistance and report to anti-corruption authorities) produce better tangible results (higher conviction rates, less human trafficking, etc.) in comparison to traditional approaches directly targeting organised crime networks.