The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) said in a report released on Friday that the organized crime groups from the Western Balkans operate outside their home region which is too small a market for them.
“While the Western Balkans is often portrayed as a hotspot of illicit activity, the region is a relatively small market for organized crime. The big money is made elsewhere. This report shows why and how groups from the Western Balkans have become engaged in organized crime abroad, particularly in South Africa, Turkey, Australia as well as in some countries of Latin America and Western Europe,” the Transnational Tentacles – Global Hotspots of Balkan Organized Crime report said.
The report covers global hotspots of criminal activity carried out by groups from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo,Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
According to the GI-TOC criminal groups from the Western Balkans operating abroad are modern, dynamic and entrepreneurial. “They have demonstrated an ability to adapt and innovate and use technology to their advantage: for example, using encrypted forms of communication; exploring new routes and means of trafficking, such as ‘narco-jets’; and laundering their money through cryptocurrencies, offshore havens and into their home countries,” the report said.
It said that there is no “Balkan Cartel per se, although groups from the region sometimes work with each other”, adding that there are examples of multi-ethnic organized crime groups.
The GI-TOC called for “more effective law enforcement cooperation, tracking and seizing of assets, and the sharing of information, not least since perpetrators tend to use multiple identities”.
The report warned that demand has to be reduced for the goods and services provided by criminal groups from the Western Balkans.