The Balkans as a ‘laboratory (for the study) of illegal markets’: introduction to the special issue on ‘Illegal Markets in the Balkans’

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    Abstract

    It is impossible for one interested in ‘organised crime’ and illegal markets to ignore the area of the Balkans. Particularly since the beginning of the 1990s, when ‘organised crime’ replaced communismas the ‘threat’ against the western world, the Balkans began to be viewed as a source, transit and destination area for migrating ‘organised criminals’ and as an integral part of a global nexus of illicit markets. This is exemplified, for example, in the statement that “the Balkans have become the gateway to Europe for organised criminals… Criminal gangs are behind a multi-million pound business smuggling people, drugs and guns…”, issued at a 2002 London-held international conference focusing on the ‘threat of organised crime’ in the Balkans co-organised by the then British Home Secretary David Blunkett and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. In addition, the Home Secretary stated in the conference that these Balkan criminal gangs are “more organised” than the police (BBC News 2002). However, compared to other contexts, there is relatively little known about illegal markets and ‘organised crime’ in the Balkans, despite the abundance of programmes, initiatives, and organisations existing in the area about and the generous funding invested on these issues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-325
    JournalTrends in Organized Crime
    Volume11
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008

    Bibliographical note

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