The Bangladesh ‘Mafia’: Mastaans and the Market for Social Protection

  • Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
Part of the Palgrave Advances in Criminology and Criminal Justice in Asia book series (PACCJA)


The chapter considers the ‘mastaans’: Bangladeshi mafia groups. The chapter draws on theories of protection and behaviour to develop a social protection theory of the mafia. The chapter considers the social networks of mastaan groups, their prevalence, where they operate, divisions of labour, the crimes that they commit and the associations they have with politicians and the police. The chapter demonstrates that mastaans work in alliance with corrupt members of the state and provide access to services, resolve disputes, commit extortion and carry out a wide array of criminal activity, much of which relies on their monopolisation of violence to protect their illegal industries. The chapter demonstrates the existence of mafias in Bangladesh and draws on data gathered from both adults and children, the implications of which are discussed.


Mafias Organised crime Gangs Social protection Bangladesh 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College London The Dickson Poon School of LawLondonUK

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