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COURSE NAME: "Globalization and Crime"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Isabella Clough Marinaro
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM 5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: at least one 200-level course in Economics, International Affairs or Business
OFFICE HOURS: Friday mornings. Please email me to set up a Teams appointment

This course introduces students to debates surrounding the effects of globalization on the proliferation of crime across borders and the challenges of developing internationally effective policing and judicial mechanisms for combating this constantly mutating phenomenon. Areas of study include the trafficking of art and archaeology, fake fashion items, waste, narcotics, and arms, as well as the market in human beings for sex and organs, and the economic implications of criminal penetration in legal financial markets and the increasing connections between international crime groups and terrorism, the political and military influence of OCGs in failed states and the connections between criminal groups and various democratic governments.

The course explores the ways in which organized criminal groups (OCGs) and activities are evolving as a result of globalization. It examines how the opening up of markets, transportation routes and communication technologies are facilitating ever more efficient and capillary illegal trades in goods and people. Areas of study include the trafficking of art and archaeology, fake fashion items, waste, narcotics, and arms, as well as the market in human beings for sex and organs. We examine the economic implications of growing criminal penetration in legal financial markets as well as the concerns for state security posed by the increasing connections between international crime groups and terrorism, the political and military influence of OCGs in failed states and the connections between criminal groups and various democratic governments. We will debate the challenges to fighting these phenomena and weigh up the  implications for international stability, democracy, national sovereignty  and the preservation of rights in attempts to develop global security responses.


By the end of the course, students should be able to:

·         Outline the problems of defining and measuring transnational organized crime groups and activities

·         Outline the international agreements and strategies currently in place to fight TOC, and provide examples of effective mechanisms at   national and regional levels

·         Discuss the challenges and obstacles to developing more incisive measures to tackle global crime

·         Demonstrate detailed factual knowledge of the various criminal groups, networks and sectors examined in the course

·         Contextualize the criminal activities and markets within a firm knowledge of post-Cold War geopolitical developments


There is no set textbook for this course. Students will receive readings for every class on Moodle.

Final Exam Essay-based exam in which students critically engage with the materials and debates presented in class lectures, discussions and readings25%
Final Research Paper Students will develop a research paper on one of the problems/issues discussed in the course and will debate its dynamics, impacts and possible solutions, drawing from class readings and further bibliographical research25%
Class participation Attendance (in person or remote) is mandatory unless there are serious health-related reasons. Participation is graded based on the student's comments, questions, active note-taking and general active engagement in class discussions and activities.15%
In class testA short-essay based assignment which tests that you have understood the concepts and issues discussed so far.15%
Take-home assignmentA short-essay based assignment which tests that you can apply the material and concepts discussed in the class so far to real-life scenarios and debates. Detailed guidelines will be posted on Moodle.15%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for t
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performance demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Attendance is mandatory for this class and you are expected to not miss any classes. I will accept a maximum of 2 absences after which I will deduct 2% of your final grade for each class missed, unless I receive an excused absence email from the Dean's Office.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until 15 Dec.

Letter grades and corresponding percentages for this class

94 – 100 points = A

90 – 93.99 pts = A-

87 – 89.99 = B+

83 – 86.99 = B

80 – 82.99 = B-

77 – 79.99 = C+

70 – 76.99 = C

60 – 69.99 = D

59.99 – 0 = F

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.




Session Focus


NOTE: All readings are to be done before the next class

WK 1 A

4 Sept

Introduction to the course

Video: Criminal Contagion


WK 1 B

6 Sept

Defining and Conceptualizing Organized Crime

Mackenzie, S. (2020). Introduction: Trafficking as Transnational Crime. In Transnational Criminology: Trafficking and Global Criminal Markets (1st ed., pp. 1–20). Bristol University Press.

WK 2 A

11 Sept

Liquid transnational crime in maps, numbers and practice

UN Convention of Transnational Organized Crime (esp until p12)

WK 2 B

13 Sept


Logistics of criminal enterprise

Video: HSBC: Tax Evasion, Money Laundering for the Mafia & Currency Manipulation

Pol, Ronald F. (2020) Anti-money laundering: The world's least effective policy experiment? Together, we can fix it, Policy Design and Practice, 3:1, 73-94

WK 3 A

18 Sept

Money laundering: the ‘clean’ and ‘gray’ economies

Video: The Rise of Money Launderers on Snapchat and Instagram

WK 3 B

20 Sept


Europol: Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) 2023

WK 4 A

25 Sept

Cybercrimes cont’d


Video: Counterfeiting documentary

WK 4 B

27 Sept



Antonopoulos, G. A. et al (2018). The nature and dynamics of the counterfeiting business In Fake goods, real money: The counterfeiting business and its financial management

WK 5 A

2 Oct

Counterfeits cont’d



WK 5 B

4 Oct


Video: Antiquities trafficking documentary

WK 6 A

9 Oct

Trafficking in art and antiquities

ATHAR (2019) Facebook's black market in antiquities

WK 6 B

11 Oct

Trafficking in art and antiquities cont'd


Kleemans (2014) Theoretical Perspectives on Organized Crime. In Paoli, L. (Ed.) The oxford handbook of organized crime

WK 7 A

16 Oct

Thinking theoretically about TOC

Van Liempt, I. (2021) Humanitarian smuggling in a time of restricting and criminalizing mobility. In The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling

WK 7 B

18 Oct

Human smuggling


Askola, H. (2020). Migration and the state's focus on human trafficking as a security issue. In C. Inglis, W. Li, & B. Khadria (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of international migration. Sage UK.

WK 7 C

20 Oct



Trafficking in persons


Mehlman-Orozco, K. (2020). Projected heroes and self-perceived manipulators: understanding the duplicitous identities of human traffickers. Trends in Organized Crime

WK 8 A

23 Oct

Trafficking cont’d

ICAT (2021) Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Organ Removal

WK 8 B

25 Oct

Organ trafficking

Research paper outline due 26 Oct

Global Initiative (2021) The Cocaine Pipeline to Europe

WK 9 A

30 Oct

Cocaine trafficking

UNODC (2022) Opium Cultivation in Afghanistan

WK 9 B

1 Nov






WK 10 A

6 Nov

Heroin and opiates


NYT (2022) Overdose Deaths Continue Rising, With Fentanyl and Meth Key Culprits

WK 10 B

8 Nov

Synthetic drugs markets

Take-home assignment due

Rêgo, X., Oliveira, M.J., Lameira, C. et al. (2021) 20 years of Portuguese drug policy - developments, challenges and the quest for human rights. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 16, 59 (2021).

WK 11 A

13 Nov


Regulation-legalization debates

Waste trafficking documentaries

WK 11 B

15 Nov

Environmental Crimes:

The illegal waste trade

Wyatt, T., van, U. D., & Nurse, A. (2020). Differentiating criminal networks in the illegal wildlife trade: organized, corporate and disorganized crime. Trends in Organized Crime

WK 12 A

20 Nov

Wildlife crimes

Shaw, D.I (2019) The Crime-Conflict Nexus: Connecting Cause and Effect

WK 12 B

22 Nov


Finish research projects

WK 13 A

27 Nov


Final research projects due 28 Nov

Conflict and crime

Global Initiative (2019). Fragmented But Far-Reaching. The UN System’s mandate and response to organized crime

WK 13 B

29 Nov

Crime, insurgency and state weakness

Global Initiative (2020). Reforming the response. What does Black Lives Matter tell us about tackling organized crime?

WK 14 A

4 Dec

Fighting global crime


WK 14 B

6 Dec

Honors Student presentations

Preparing for final exam