© 2018

Militarised Responses to Transnational Organised Crime

The War on Crime

  • Tuesday Reitano
  • Sasha Jesperson
  • Lucia Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo


  • Engages with different forms of criminality around the central theme of militarised approaches

  • Includes insights from prominent senior academics, policy makers and practitioners

  • Combines colourful journalistic accounts and technical academic analysis of organised crime


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Wildlife Crime

  3. Piracy

  4. Smuggling of Migrants

  5. Drug Trafficking

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 257-257

About this book


This edited volume examines the use of militarised responses to different forms of criminal activity, discussing the outcomes and unintended consequences. Politicians and policymakers frequently use militarised responses to look tough on crime. The deployment of armies, navies, military assets and militarised approaches can send a powerful message, but have produced mixed results. While they generate the perception that governments are actively engaged on issues of concern to the public, and in some cases have resulted in notable successes, on the downside they have frequently also increased the loss of life, exacerbated the humanitarian consequences of a particular crime and entrenched divides between security and state institutions and the criminal proponents, narrowing the possibilities for future negotiated solutions. By focusing on four different areas of criminality – wildlife crime, piracy, migration and drug trafficking – the book allows context and evidence-based conclusions to be drawn on the strategic value and commonality of responses and their outcomes.


Organised Crime Transnational Organised Crime Militarised Responses to Organised Crime Fighting Crime Militarisation Debate Wildlife Crime Rhino Trafficking Ivory trade Criminal networks Somali Piracy People smugglers Human trafficking Migrant smuggling EU naval intervention Drug trafficking Drug wars Military action Brazil South Africa Somalia

Editors and affiliations

  • Tuesday Reitano
    • 1
  • Sasha Jesperson
    • 2
  • Lucia Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo
    • 3
  1. 1.Global Initiative against Transnational Organized CrimeGenevaUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.St Mary’s UniversityCentre for the Study of Modern SlaveryTwickenhamUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Global Initiative against Transnational Organized CrimeGenevaUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Tuesday Reitano is the Deputy Director of the Geneva-based Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime and a senior research advisor at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, where she leads five organised crime observatories for Africa.

Sasha Jesperson is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK, where she is leading policy-focused research to improve the response to modern slavery. Her key interests are the involvement of organised crime groups, and the role of development interventions in preventing slavery and human trafficking. 

Lucia Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo is currently a fellow in the Oxford Policy Fellowship programme, consulting on law and policy for the Ministry of Finance in Ghana. Previously she pursued a career as a corporate lawyer at Slaughter and May. Lucia's contributions to the field of organised crime have focusing on human smuggling and informal extractive industries.

Bibliographic information


“Militarised Responses to Transnational Organised Crime has a lot to offer those with an interest in the War on Crime. The book’s exploration of militarised responses to wildlife crime, piracy, migrant smuggling, and drug trafficking reveals how these responses are often ineffective on their own. … I believe editors Tuesday Reitano, Lucia Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo and Sasha Jesperson have put together a collection of essays which ranks among the best I have ever read.” (Adam Finzi, CDA Institute,, November 01, 2018)

“In Militarised Responses to Transnational Organised Crime: The War on Crime, Tuesday Reitano, Lucia Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo and Sasha Jesperson offer a collection addressing the issue of militarisation in the context of illicit wildlife trafficking, maritime piracy, human smuggling and drug dealing. … this book has made a valuable contribution to the existing literature on transnational organised crime.” (Anton Moiseienko, LSE Review of Books,, February, 2018)