Globalization has transformed communications, technology, trade, and travel and, in so doing, has provided a favourable environment for TOC to grow and flourish, the opportunities for which are being exploited by criminals to build increasingly sustainable criminal markets. While international responses have been implemented to try to reduce these opportunities, national responses have not evolved at the same pace, leaving nations increasingly vulnerable to TOC. A number of factors have contributed to national responses being somewhat limited, such as lack of political will, limited resources, skills deficit, corruption, and lack of suitable legislation. Interestingly, structural difference between OC and TOC has also been highlighted as a factor inhibiting the tackling of TOC. Traditionally, OC structures were hierarchical, while TOC structures are less rigid and are more often driven by markets and profit than by people and geography. This has resulted in traditional policing methods not always being appropriate in tackling TOC. However, as TOC increasingly straddles the illicit and licit worlds of many nations, national responses have become more important.
Many law enforcement agencies have acknowledged the need for a more strategic and proactive national response, to complement the existing international responses. Furthermore, the risk of TOC permeating and weakening a country’s political, economic, social, and security structures has made many see TOC as a national security threat, thereby requiring a greater national response. As a result, positive changes are increasingly evident across the globe. Many agencies are taking a strategic and practical approach to tackling TOC, and are looking beyond the traditional law-enforcement response. Better use of proactive policing tools, through surveillance, use of informants, and witness protection, amongst others, is being complemented by the increased use of technology and software to provide law enforcement with a more holistic approach to tackling TOC. That being said, a greater law-enforcement presence in the
Department of Justice, Assessing the Effectiveness of OC Control Strategies, cited in note 27 above.
online world is requiring a new level of knowledge, skills, and legislative protection. In conjunction with these improvements and developments, law enforcement is more frequently looking outwards to other government agencies and the private sector for new partners in the fight against TOC. Areas of law beyond the criminal code are also increasingly being used to secure convictions, prosecutions, and fines against criminals. This has all culminated in an improved national response to TOC, but the obstacles mentioned above continue to prevent some nations, by choice or by design, from effectively tackling TOC. This is allowing TOC infiltrate vulnerable nations and provides safe havens for it to grow. As a result, TOC is likely to pose both a national and an international challenge for many years to come.