The “G-local” Dimension of Albanian Organized Crime: Mafias, Strategic Migration and State Repression
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This paper elaborates on the relation between globalization, migration, and transnational organized crime. The case selected is on ethnic Albanian organized crime and its migration to Western Europe and the United States. There are a few perspectives on the ability of organized crime to take advantage of globalization in an effort to expand their criminal markets. One view is that criminal groups, similarly to multinational corporations, are taking advantage of globalization and are opening outposts in Western cities. The opposing view is that organized crime groups are highly localized and territorial. This paper tries to answer the following questions: Are Albanian groups operating in the USA and Europe part of the same species originating from Albania and Kosovo? Are these groups coordinated by a central organization in the country of origin that sought opportunity to exploit the process of international integration? The paper concludes that the migration of Albanian organized crime may not be a strategic business choice. Therefore, rather than fitting the stereotype of hypersophisticated international organized crime bureaucracies found in news reports, this study suggests that many Albanian organized crime groups are localized and spontaneously formed. What might appear to be the product of globalizations is, in fact, the consequence of state repression or wars between rival criminal groups. The conclusions are based on a mixed-methods approach, including interviews with experts, Albanian migrants and offenders, and in-depth analysis of court cases.
KeywordsTransnational crime Albanian organized crime Balkan criminality Mafia migration Alien conspiracy
This project was supported by Award No. 2012-IJ-CX-0004 from the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.
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