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Reporter’s Guide to Investigating Organized Crime

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For details on this guide’s chapter authors, see the Acknowledgments page. Illustrations are by Ann Kiernan. Editing by Laura Dixon, Tanya Pampalone, and Reed Richardson. Andrea Arzaba was the project manager.

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Chapter Guide Resource

Organized Crime – Introduction

Introduction A transnational clothing brand staffing its factories with slave labor. An 11th-century statue stolen from a temple, trafficked overseas, and sold to a museum for millions of dollars. A gang hacking ATMs to steal credit card details and withdraw cash from tourist accounts. A drug-related massacre and hundreds of people missing as a result. […]

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Organized Crime Chapter 1 – Money Laundering

This chapter was written by Paul Radu, co-founder and chief of innovation at OCCRP. He founded the organization in 2007 with Drew Sullivan. He leads OCCRP’s major investigative projects, scopes regional expansion, and develops new strategies and technology to expose organized crime and corruption across borders. Most of the criminals I investigated over the past […]

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Organized Crime Chapter 2 – Drug Trafficking

This chapter is by Steven Dudley, co-director and co-founder of GIJN member InSight Crime, an initiative aimed at monitoring, analyzing, and investigating organized crime in the Americas. Drug trafficking is one of the world’s most lucrative illicit activities, worth something in the range of $500 billion per year, comparable to the gross domestic product of Sweden. […]

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Organized Crime Chapter 3 – Cybercrime

This chapter, which focuses on cybercrime and investigating on the dark web, was written by Kate Fazzini, a technology reporter who covers cybersecurity for the American cable TV network CNBC.  Cybercrime is any criminal activity perpetrated in a digital realm. While we often think of cybercrime as defined by “hacking,” which in this context refers to unauthorized […]

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Organized Crime Chapter 4 – Forced Disappearances

This chapter, which focuses on forced disappearances, is written by Marcela Turati, an investigative journalist who has covered the Mexican drug war and who is a founding member of the reporting project Quinto Elemento Lab. In one of the first episodes of the TV series “Breaking Bad,” two of the main characters dissolve a corpse […]

Chapter Guide Resource

Organized Crime Chapter 5 – Human Trafficking

This chapter was written by Martha Mendoza, a Pulitzer prize-winning Associated Press reporter. She currently writes breaking news, enterprise, and investigative stories from Silicon Valley, in California. She was part of a team that exposed forced labor in the fishing industry in Southeast Asia in 2015, an exposé which helped to free 2,000 slaves. Human trafficking […]

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Organized Crime Chapter 6 – Arms Trafficking

This chapter, which focuses on the illegal arms trade, was written by Khadija Sharife, senior editor for Africa at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). When film director Andrew Niccol began purchasing props for the 2005 movie “Lord of War,” he learned an expensive lesson. Buying weapons — the real kind — was cheaper and easier […]

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Organized Crime Chapter 7 – Environmental Crimes

This chapter on environmental crime was written by Toby McIntosh, GIJN’s Resource Center senior advisor. He was with Bloomberg BNA in Washington for 39 years and has written about freedom of information policies worldwide. He is the author of GIJN’s recent guide on Illegal Wildlife Tracking. Networks of business interests, government officials, and criminal groups […]

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Organized Crime Chapter 8 – Antiquities Trafficking

This chapter was written by Donna Yates, an associate professor in the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at Maastricht University and a member of the Trafficking Culture Project. The illicit trade in antiquities is a form of transnational crime that connects the theft at heritage sites to the elite world of the global art […]

Chapter Guide Resource

Organized Crime Chapter 9 – Mafia States and Kleptocracies

This chapter, focused on criminal and corrupt states, is written by Drew Sullivan, co-founder and publisher of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP),  a global network of investigative journalists that exposes crime and corruption so the public can hold power to account. When we refer to “mafia states,” we are talking about a government that […]

Chapter Guide Resource

Video: GIJC23 – The New Organized Crime

Organized crime today is fluid, transnational, enterprising, and an estimated trillion-dollar industry. To talk about the state of 21st Century organized crime, we have an extraordinary panel of journalists with deep experience reporting on Mexico’s cartels, Italy’s mafias, and Asia’s Golden Triangle