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Global overview and results

Global context

As already outlined, one of the main findings of the Index is that levels of criminality are increasing worldwide, while resilience measures are falling short of meeting the threat. That critical gap between growing levels of global criminality and the sustainable policy and civil society measures needed to address it is widening. This deficit can be better understood when analyzed against the backdrop of a more fragmented and unstable global order.

The world that emerged from the pandemic is a paradox. On the one hand, the global community is more interconnected and reliant on the online tools that drive digitization. On the other, it is even more divided, plagued by greater inequality, instability and geopolitical tension. In a context of technological advances, deepening globalization, political crises and conflict, criminal actors find opportunistic openings for illicit trade by taking advantage of these dynamics.

Organized crime has found ways to adapt to and exploit specific vulnerabilities. Opportunities seized by organized crime arise in some cases from abundant availability of resources that can be illegally exchanged, and in others from scarcity, or by exploiting their targets’ online presence and data. For this reason, it is worth remembering that contextual differences matter, as emphasized in the findings of the previous report. While the Index shows how transnational organized crime changes and develops at a macro level, it also allows users to focus in on particular regions or countries and specific markets to understand how criminal economies have been shaped and resilience measures designed according to individual contexts. In brief, every country has its own peculiar characteristics – what makes one vulnerable to organized crime may be irrelevant to another, and vulnerability may be attributed to factors beyond a state’s control.

Figure 3.1

Criminality scores by continent

Criminality scores by continent

It is important to emphasize therefore that countries may have similar scores for very different reasons. This principle also applies to the newly added indicators. In the case of financial crimes, for example, while major financial hubs are evidently vulnerable to this crime type (due to the concentration of wealthy citizens and corporations and widespread adoption of financial technology), they are by no means the only targets. Countries with weaker financial regulation may also experience pervasive financial crime markets and therefore score similarly.

The following sections provide a snapshot of the Index results in terms of global trends of criminality and resilience over time. The findings are presented by thematic area – namely, criminal markets, criminal actors and resilience. These are followed by a geographic analysis of the results by continent.

Figure 3.2

Criminality map

Criminality map

Figure 3.3



Global criminal markets

The global average for the criminality component stood at 5.03 out of 10, or 0.16 points higher than in 2021 (refer to the Appendix for the complete scores). Analysis of the results shows that the global criminality score would have still increased if only the original 10 criminal markets were considered, and that the growth would have been even greater, with a global criminality average of 5.10. This suggests that the five new criminal markets are less pervasive on average, globally, than the original 10.

However, one of the new markets, financial crimes, was found to be the most pervasive globally (at 5.98). In fact, financial crime ranked among the three most pervasive criminal markets in every continent besides the Americas, where it is one of the five most prominent. After financial crimes and human trafficking (5.82), the cannabis trade (5.34) and arms trafficking (5.21) were identified as the third and fourth most prevalent markets globally.

All the criminal markets in the 2021 Index grew in pervasiveness globally in the current data period, with the global score for human smuggling increasing the most (+0.39), followed by the synthetic drug trade (+0.33) and the cocaine trade (+0.30). By contrast, the heroin trade saw the least movement in 2023, increasing by just 0.10 points.

Figure 3.4

Criminal markets, 2023 global averages

Criminal markets, 2023 global averages

New criminal markets

Emerging crimes, especially those facilitated by the internet, are a universal threat and are reportedly growing. In the post-pandemic context, financial inequalities are more apparent, the intersection between public and private actors involved in corruption is closer, and politics and conflict drive countries’ vulnerability to organized crime. The new criminality indicators have been included to provide a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the global organized crime landscape and to ‘level the playing field’. In other words, countries that may have not experienced pervasive levels of criminality when scored using the original criminal markets or actors may now see their criminality scores rise with the inclusion of these additions, and vice versa. No country is untouched by organized crime, although the way it manifests from country to country may be vastly different.

White roses are laid on the ground as part of a ‘Walk for Peace’ in Guadalajara, Mexico.

When exploring the Index’s new criminality indicators, it is impossible not to notice how many are significantly influenced by evolving global trends. Financial crimes, as defined by the Index, encompass various offences from traditional illicit practices, such as tax evasion and misuse of funds, to more sophisticated forms of embezzlement and fraud. These crimes are enabled by the internet, carry comparably little risk for the perpetrator and have exploited people’s remote working patterns that became normative during the pandemic lockdowns and have largely persisted since. While society’s growing online presence has created opportunities for development, cyber-criminals have become adept at harnessing technology and preying on vulnerabilities, at great expense to states, corporations and individuals. The impact of financial crime is exacerbated by high levels of impunity and often a lack of concern about how damaging this form of crime is, compounded by the fact that it is commonly perceived as a non-violent and victimless offence.

Figure 3.5

Countries under high influence of financial crimes (scores equal to or greater than 5.50)

Countries under high influence of financial crimes (scores equal to or greater than 5.50)

Box 1 The scope of financial crime

‘Financial crime’ is a broad term describing non-violent crime that results in financial loss to the state, an entity or individuals. This category comprises various kinds of criminal activities. The definition above was thus needed to capture the broad scope of offences. It is, nonetheless, important to have limits to avoid double counting certain criminal activities under different criminal markets. There is a risk of double counting when assessing traditional financial crimes that are enabled by technology. For the purposes of the Index, we therefore distinguish between cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent crimes to ensure that the same offences are not counted twice, ensuring greater accuracy and consistency in the results. For example, under our definition, phishing scams would be classified as cyber-enabled financial crime, thereby being assessed under the financial crimes market.

Another feature of the financial crimes market is the fact that money laundering is not assessed as part of it. This stems from money laundering’s characterization as a secondary crime, linked to illicit proceeds of a predicate offence. As the predicate crimes are already assessed under the various criminal markets, the secondary offence – money laundering – is not included under the financial crimes market but only under the primary market. One exception is when money laundering occurs as a result of fraud or another offence that is classified as financial crime under this Index.

Similar features are also seen in many forms of cyber-dependent crime. Such crimes are reportedly on the rise globally due to increased digitalization. Despite often being described as ‘borderless’, the impact of cyber-dependent crimes is largely felt at the national level, as critical infrastructures, institutional websites and industries are often the targets. While cyber-enabled crimes are activities that may make use of internet technology but also occur in physical markets, cyber-dependent crimes require information and communication technologies (ICT) and are committed solely online.

In perpetrating both financial and cyber-dependent crimes, private sector actors are often central, though frequently overlooked by analyses of organized crime dynamics. This category refers to profit-seeking individuals and entities, such as multinational companies, lawyers or bankers, that are part of the legal non-state economy and, unlawfully taking advantage of their role and position, engage in illicit practices either collaborating with organized crime groups or facilitating their activities. Criminals may in fact exploit legitimate channels of commerce, and, in turn, the private sector may engage in organized crime in a number of ways, including through corrupt practices, by serving as informants (i.e. providing information to criminals), and by supporting criminal groups in laundering their illegal proceeds and providing legal support using unethical means.

Financial crime is particularly globalized, most likely because of the many forms of criminal activity that this market encompasses. Indeed, it was found to have a significant to severe influence in 132 countries, or almost 70% of the UN member states.1 These numbers clearly demonstrate that financial crimes are present to a great extent globally, regardless of countries’ resilience, economic status, development or political stability. Nevertheless, it is worth recognizing that although the majority of countries suffer the effects of financial crime, how it manifests in each country depends on the local context.

The cyber-dependent crimes market is also prevalent in countries all along the political and economic spectrum. This, undoubtedly, is due to the nature of the cyber-domain, which is nowadays accessible to the vast majority of the world’s population. Despite its growing prominence, the cyber-dependent crimes market ranked as the 12th most pervasive market out of 15, with a score of 4.55, below the global average criminal markets score of 4.88. This relatively low average score is perhaps a result of what is being measured here, namely cyber-dependent, as opposed to cyber-enabled, activities. Although cyber-dependent crime is not ranked among the highest scoring criminal markets, country narratives highlight the incredible speed at which this particular group of offences has grown in a very short time span, and it is likely that this trend will continue in the coming years.

Although they are not often as newsworthy as other forms of organized crime, the trade in counterfeit goods and the illicit trade in excisable goods have been included in this edition of the Index, as they are major criminal economies, often prevalent in contexts where such commodities are among the limited livelihood options available. The impact of these two markets is significant, as they result in financial losses to the economy and fiscus, and can pose risks to the safety and security of people (in the case of counterfeit medicines, for example). Moreover, they may be indicators of other illegal practices, as they often overlap with other illegal economies. It is therefore crucial to observe how these markets develop, including how such activities are increasingly carried out online.

Finally, extortion and protection racketeering – long-standing and prevalent forms of organized crime – were also included together as a new criminal market indicator. Various criminal actor types engage in these practices, but they are primarily associated with mafia-style groups. Importantly, while extortion and protection racketeering are historically linked to territorial market control, other forms of virtual extortion facilitated by the internet, such as cyber-sextortion, are on the rise globally.

In terms of markets in which humans are the commodity, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of reported human trafficking victims fell for the first time in 20 years,2 although it is likely that this does not fully reflect an actual decline in exploit-ative practices. The lifting of travel restrictions following the easing of lockdowns made human mobility less of a challenge and illicit flows of people re-emerged. Since 2021, human trafficking has grown by 0.24 points with a global score of 5.82, ranking second among the criminal markets. Human smuggling saw the sharpest increase of all markets, rising by 0.39 points. Human smuggling remains less pervasive than human trafficking and ranked fifth, with an overall global score of 5.16. In 2022, the ongoing crisis in Syria was responsible for one of the largest displacement emergencies globally.3 Another influential event that had a distinct effect on global human smuggling flows was the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Following the August 2021 events, Afghani nationals in large numbers sought ways to leave the country, moving primarily to Iran and Pakistan but also to Europe, increasing the scores for countries along the major smuggling routes.

The third people-based criminal market, extortion and protection racketeering, ranked lowest, with an global score of 4.02. The lower prevalence of this market can probably be explained in terms of how it is defined under the Index, where acts of extortion and protection racketeering perpetrated by state officials are excluded from the scoring.

Of the four drug markets, the cannabis trade (5.34) ranked third highest in prevalence globally, behind financial crimes and human trafficking. Despite measures taken in many countries to decriminalize the use of cannabis, the market has increased by 0.24 points since 2021. Cannabis continues to be illegal in many countries around the world, and even in states where use has been decriminalized, a black market for production and distribution often persists alongside the legal market. The low cost and relative ease of production are major drivers behind the prevalence of the cannabis market.

Box 2 Legalization of cannabis use

The rising trend around the world in decriminalization of cannabis use has heightened the inconsistencies and discrepancies that already existed under international law, which makes it difficult to assess illicit cannabis markets. For instance, in the US, as of June 2023,4 38 states had legalized the medical use of cannabis, while 23 had legalized recreational use through state legislation, despite the prohibition set forth under the relevant federal laws. This discrepancy has created not only an overlap between federal and state legislation, but also difficulties in distinguishing legal and illegal cannabis markets, and determining concrete conclusions on this already challenging market in the jurisdiction. Importantly, however, although many countries have legalized or decriminalized cannabis consumption, illicit production and trade remain major organized crime problems. The Index tracks how, and to what extent, the legal market for cannabis has interacted with the illicit one, and scores the impact of the latter.

Illuminated cannabis leaf signs outside a provincial health office in Nai Mueang, Thailand.

The markets for synthetic drugs (4.95) and cocaine (4.82) increased slightly more than the cannabis trade (by +0.33 and +0.30, respectively), but still fell behind it in terms of overall scores. Heroin was identified as the least pervasive of the drug markets (4.08), having gone up by only 0.10 points since 2021 – the smallest increase among the 10 original markets by a significant margin. The minimal rise may be explained by the war in Ukraine, which has disrupted major heroin flows from Afghanistan to the Caucasus and through the Black Sea,5 and research shows little indication of a rise in heroin supplies on other major routes, including the Turkish–Bulgarian corridor, arguably the major transit point for heroin in Europe, which hosts one of the largest consumer markets.6

Conflict zones are magnets for firearms, with spillover of weapons being a well-documented phenomenon.7 In regions experiencing instability, such as Africa and Western Asia (among others), where weapon depots have supplied insurgents and organized crime for decades, the global trade for illicit arms (5.21) increased by 0.29 since 2021, with the market for arms now identified as the fourth most pervasive globally.

One of the main sources of fracture in 2022 was triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If previous conflicts are any indication, one of the major emerging threats, come the end of Russian hostilities, would be uncontrolled stockpiles of arms in Ukraine, including the Russian–occupied regions. However, no sizable outflow of arms from conflict zones westward was recorded during the reporting period.8 If not properly dealt with, Ukraine has the risk of becoming a weapons depot feeding insurgents an organized crime groups for decades to come.

Residents of Bamako hold a banner reading ‘Thank you, Wagner’, in celebration of France’s announcement to withdraw its troops from Mali.

The illicit trade in counterfeit goods ranked sixth of the criminal markets, with a score of 4.98 out of 10 – just below the global criminal markets average. Although around 75% of global counterfeit products are reported to stem from China,9 the societal impact of this market is extensive and global. For example, counterfeit vaccines and other medications endanger the health of consumers, while fake goods divert revenue from the formal economy. Contrary to a common misperception, and the fact that this market is accepted as the norm in some communities, the trade in counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime. While engaging in counterfeit trade may offer livelihoods to impoverished communities, often transnational flows of counterfeit items are monopolized by larger organized crime groups10 who may also engage in other forms of crime. Moreover, the counterfeit goods market often overlaps with other illicit economies, such as child labour and exploitation in the production of these products.

The illicit trade in excisable consumer goods ranked lower than the trade in counterfeit goods, at 11th place, with a score of 4.59. Criminal groups exploit regulatory weaknesses to avoid paying excise taxes, generating profits by smuggling and selling goods subject to tariffs and duties at a lower cost than their equivalents in the legal economy. Despite posing a threat to businesses and the legitimate economy, the impact of the illicit trade in excisable goods is assessed as not overly pervasive globally, with an average score of 4.59.

Excluding the standalone cyber-dependent crimes market, the lowest scoring criminal market grouping globally was environmental crimes. All three environmental crime markets ranked below the global markets average. Of these, fauna crimes (4.83) were found to be the most pervasive, followed by non-renewable resource crimes (4.75) and flora crimes (4.06). Despite their comparably low prevalence, all three markets increased in pervasiveness by 0.20, 0.24 and 0.18, respectively. Given the vast array of wildlife and animal parts that are traded illicitly along supply chains around the world, it may not be surprising that fauna crimes ranked highest of the environmental markets. By contrast, the demand for exotic flora is much less pronounced globally. This market includes illegal logging, which is unevenly distributed around the world. The prevalence of non-renewable resource crimes is a function of the monopoly of state actors over non-renewables and to an extent over the infrastructure necessary for extraction and processing. The fact that management of primary resources is often in the hands of the state opens up opportunities for malpractice and is likely to be behind the increase.

Global criminal actors

Figure 3.6

Criminal actors, global averages

Criminal actors, global averages

The average global score for criminal actors was 5.19 out of 10. Mirroring the 2021 findings, the criminal actors subcomponent was therefore again the primary factor in driving up the overall global criminality score (5.03, as an average of criminal markets and criminal actors).

Breaking the results down by actor type, state-embedded actors continue to dominate the criminal landscape as the primary conduit for organized crime worldwide, with an average score of 5.95. Their influence is shown to have increased against the 2021 findings by a considerable margin of 0.20 points.

The continued reach and influence that all criminal actor types exert, however, is also important to recognize. Criminal networks (5.66), for instance, remained the second most influential actor, and recorded the second largest increase (+0.21) since the 2021 Index was published. Foreign actors ranked third (5.54) and recorded the largest increase (+0.26). Finally, mafia-style groups (4.02) also increased their average score globally, albeit to a lesser extent than other actor types (+0.13). Mafia-style groups were again found to be the least pervasive globally, even outranked in a global comparison by the new actor type, private sector actors (4.76).

Despite their relative levels of influence, the increases that have been consistently observed in all criminal actor indicators show that, regardless of the structure of criminal groups or the origin of their members, the perpetrators of organized crime have all expanded their reach and levels of penetration in 2022. On one hand, thanks to the criminal opportunities offered by the cyber-space, they have found new domains where they can exert their influence, and on the other, they have allegedly exploited the challenges of the post-COVID global order to consolidate their activities.

Taken as a whole, the results underscore how criminal actors that are part of or act from within the state apparatus continue to be a major impediment to the development and implementation of effective anti-organized crime strategies. To quantify the extent of the risk, the results demonstrate that state-embedded actors have significant or severe influence in 122 of the 193 countries assessed here, or more than 60% of the sample. Conversely, the data identifies state-embedded actors as having little or no influence in only 36 countries, or around 19% of the sample.

Although it is by no means the case that all office holders of the state are engaged in or facilitate criminality, statistically, the widespread presence of state-embedded actors in general is concerning. The countries most affected by the impact of state-embedded actors continue to be primarily authoritarian regimes. Of those countries where state-embedded actors were found to have a severe influence (i.e. those that scored 7.50 or above for this actor type), 40 (54%) were classified as authoritarian regimes under the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2022 Democracy Index.11 Among those countries where the state-embedded actors indicator was 9.0 or above, 85% fall under the Democracy Index’s authoritarian regime classification. This finding supports the idea that in countries characterized by absence of rule of law and democracy, where accountability and government transparency mechanisms are opaque and civil society participation is restricted, state-controlled organized crime appears to proliferate virtually unfettered, compromising their ability to protect citizens and encourage development.

As the second most pervasive actor both globally and within all continents, criminal networks form a critical link between other criminal actors and illicit markets. This is an unambiguous relationship, shown by the high positive correlation (+0.84) between the criminal networks indicator and the overall criminal actors subcomponent. Put simply, high criminal network scores are a good predictor of the existence of other influential criminal actor types in the same geography. Given the role of criminal networks in national and transnational crime dynamics, it is arguable that much could be gained from law-enforcement efforts to disrupt criminal flows if the operations of these groups were more effectively targeted.

Additionally, foreign actors (a grouping comprising criminal networks, mafia-style groups, private sector actors and state-embedded actors who are simply operating outside of their home country) are inextricably linked to domestic criminal networks, as exemplified by the moderately positive correlation (+0.53) observed between the two types of criminal actor. A key point is that while in many cases criminal markets feature foreign actors from all over the world, it is largely groups from the borderlands of neighbouring countries that drive up the foreign actors’ scores. This usually happens as a consequence of the spillover risk that neighbouring countries may experience due to their contiguity and the difficulty of protecting borders when criminality is high and actors are particularly pervasive. A case in point is Bosnia and Herzegovina, an attractive location for foreign criminal actors from many of the neighbouring countries in the Balkans, including Serbian and Croatian criminal groups.

Defining foreign actors
The foreign actors grouping is included in the Index to help provide a more accurate picture of the organized crime dynamics in specific environments. By definition, ‘foreign actor’ refers to any type of criminal actor that operates outside of their home country. Taking perhaps the most famous example of a diasporic criminal organization, the Italian mafia would be categorized as a mafia-style group when assessing these actors in their home territory, Italy. However, these same organizations would be assessed under the foreign actors criminal actor type in the case of other countries in which they operate. Methodologically, there is no overlap between foreign actors and other actor categories when the assessment of a single country is concerned.

As mentioned, mafia-style groups continue to be the least pervasive actor type by a large margin. The only continent where these actors exert a strong influence over criminal markets is the Americas, where these groups – primarily in the form of ‘narco-cartels’ – rank third, and where the gap between their scores and those of other actor types is significantly smaller than for other continents. Mafia-style groups are characterized by territorial control and defined leadership structures, but they also maintain strong transnational connections and links to corrupted state elites, enabling them to amplify the range of their operations and adapt to an increasingly globalized criminal economy.

The score for the newly added indicator of private sector actors (4.76) reflects the degree to which private entities collaborate or cooperate with other criminal actors, giving their criminal counterparts access to legal economies (see below).

Box 3 Private sector actors

The private sector is often thought of as a victim of organized crime, with criminal activities affecting legitimate businesses, either through the insecurity created by certain crimes or by direct acts of crime, such as extortion. That said, the private sector has also become a key facilitator of and participant in organized crime, bridging the licit and illicit economies. Private sector involvement in organized crime ranges from facilitating laundering of unlawfully obtained revenue to participating in criminal activities through collusion. Private sector actors engage in several criminal markets, including financial crimes, especially tax evasion and embezzlement, as well as smuggling activities. Certain industries, such as construction, real estate, hospitality and transportation, are particularly susceptible to the influence of organized crime. It is therefore essential to take into consideration the involvement of these actors in order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the global criminal landscape.

Figure 3.7

Criminal actors: distribution by score range

Criminal actors: distribution by score range

Global resilience

Figure 3.8

Resilience map

Resilience map

Figure 3.9



The 12 indicators that make up the resilience component remained the same as in the 2021 Index. Overall, very minor changes in resilience were observed globally under the 2023 Index (which stood unchanged at a global average of 4.81) and the order of highest- to lowest-scoring indicators was also more or less unchanged. That is not to say, however, that there were no changes in national and regional dynamics. It is important to look past the macro-level averages and assess the regional and national complexities that predicate the ability of a state to deal with and withstand the threat of organized crime.

Figure 3.10

Average global resilience scores by indicator

Average global resilience scores by indicator

Indeed, the global resilience context has altered significantly, as seen in the fact that the proportion of people living in conditions of low resilience to organized crime has decreased significantly to 61.9%, down from 79.4% two years ago. Although this difference of almost 17.5 percentage points may appear counterintuitive given that the global resilience score has remained largely unchanged, it is worth observing here that a minor change in one country’s resilience score can affect the overall balance, if that country happens to be heavily populated.

The reason for the change can be explained by China, which as a result of a slight improvement in its resilience score (marginally increasing from 5.46 in 2021 to 5.67 in 2023), has moved over the 5.50 midpoint, from the high criminality–low resilience category into the high criminality–high resilience one. The modest shift is mainly due to China’s adoption, in December 2021, of its first Anti-Organized Crime Law and its increased efforts in combating money laundering, among others. Given the country’s immense population of 1.4 billion, this has had a sizeable impact in reducing the percentage of the world population reported to be living in conditions of low resilience.

Although resilience building blocks are measured independently of each other as standalone indicators, there are common characteristics among them. This allows for the grouping of indicators under categories, which makes analysis of trends possible. From the resilience scores, it can be interpreted that indicators in the leadership and governance group (see Figure 3.10) continue to form the basis of states’ preferred tools to tackle criminality – at the expense of social and economic-based ones. The global average of the indicators making up this group was 5.10 out of 10, a slight increase compared to 2021. States’ expressed intentions of tackling organized crime are evident in the high scores for ‘international cooperation’ (5.87) and ‘national policies and laws’ (5.48). Undoubtedly, states’ ratification of and participation in international conventions as well as their engagement with partners on common issues and the presence of sound national legislative frameworks are all central in curbing transnational organized crime. Nevertheless, deficiencies in transparency and accountability as well as in governance can impede these efforts. Average scores for indicators such as ‘political leadership and governance’ (4.70) and especially ‘government transparency and accountability’ (4.36) are comparably low. In fact, scores for both resilience building blocks declined globally over the last two years, with the latter identified as the second lowest indicator on average, above only ‘victim and witness support’ (4.24).

Institutional efforts to address criminality continue to be favoured by states at the expense of more holistic approaches, involving cooperation with non-state actors. This is evident in the scores for ‘judicial system and detention’ (4.54), ‘law enforcement’ (4.87) and ‘territorial integrity’ (5.06). With a focus on criminal justice and security, these indicators collectively averaged the second highest resilience category (4.82). Despite its undeniable significance in suppressing aspects of organized crime, overreliance on securitization responses, combined with the issues plaguing many state institutions, including underfunding, capacity and corruption, risks the opposite effect by hampering anti-organized crime measures or, worse, becoming a driver of criminality.

A crowded market in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In terms of civil society and social protection measures, the 2023 results show a marked imbalance between securitization and victim-centric, non-state-actor-facilitated approaches. The civil society and social protection indicators had the lowest average of all the resilience groupings (4.50). Although the ‘non-state actors’ indicator (4.72) fared comparably well against the overall resilience average, it is the one indicator that declined the most (−0.16). Meanwhile, ‘victim and witness support’ scored 4.24, suggesting, broadly, failings in prioritizing the very systems designed to protect those most at risk of the harms of organized crime. Proactive measures aimed at mitigating the impact of organized crime and curbing the phenomenon in general, measured by the ‘prevention’ indicator (4.55), are also underdeveloped. Taken together, these deficits and the discrepancy between priority given to state-run initiatives and under-reliance on civil-society-driven approaches could have a lasting negative impact on society. These factors could serve to intensify social fracturing and generate conditions that criminal elements could exploit.

If there is one takeaway that stands out from this iteration of the Index, it would be the omnipresence of the financial crimes market. Against this, the two economic-focused resilience indicators, ‘anti-money laundering’ (4.71) and ‘economic regulatory capacity’ (4.67), score just below the global resilience average (4.81). A well-regulated economic sector serves to support legal economic development and impede organized crime’s access to legitimate markets. Although the economic and financial grouping (4.69) does not reflect all types of financial criminality included under the Index definition, it is critical nonetheless that efforts to improve economic-focused resilience are stepped up globally.

  1. Under the Index, the significant to severe influence bands reflect a score of 5.5 and above out of 10. 

  2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022, January 2023,

  3. See UNHCR, Global focus: Syria situation,

  4. Reuters, Factbox: U.S. states where recreational marijuana is legal, 1 June 2023,

  5. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, European Drug Report 2023: The drug situation in Europe up to 2023 – an overview and assessment of emerging threats and new developments, June 2023, https://www.emcdda.europa

  6. See Republic of Türkiye, Ministry of Customs and Trade, Drug seizures by type,

  7. Guillermo Vázquez del Mercado, Arms trafficking and organized crime: Global trade, local impacts, GI-TOC, August 2022,; Mark Galeotti and Anna Arutunyan, Peace and proliferation: The Russo-Ukrainian war and the illegal arms trade, GI-TOC, March 2023,

  8. Mark Galeotti and Anna Arutunyan, Peace and proliferation: The Russo-Ukrainian war and the illegal arms trade, GI-TOC, March 2023,

  9. Nick Redfearn, Cross-border trade in counterfeit goods, Rouse, 14 February 2023,

  10. See Europol, Counterfeit products: Why buying fakes can be bad for your health (and more),

  11. See Economist Intelligence, Democracy Index 2022,