The benefits of globalization are oft-touted. But one negative side effect is an enhanced ability for organized crime to operate in far-flung networks, usually in smuggling drugs, people, and arms, or in corrupt money deals.
Some 150 nations, however, signed a treaty in Sicily this week to cooperate against these Mafia-like networks (see story, page one).
The treaty relies mostly on promises of cooperation and on the hope that nations will receive financial help from an international fund made up of seized criminal assets. (Organized crime is estimated to be an $18 trillion business worldwide.)
The United Nations Congress Against Transnational Organized Crime, as the meeting was called, asks countries to adopt uniform rules on how to fight organized crime. All the easier then for them to speed up the pursuit of criminals across borders. New technology will help, too. Witnesses can testify on video. Warrants can be sent by e-mail.
If just 40 nations can fully ratify the treaty soon, it could be in place by 2003. It's an ambitious effort worth wide support.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society