The rapid spread of international crime since the end of the Cold War is unprecedented in scale, facilitated by globalization and technological advances, and poses a significant challenge to the United States and democratic governments and free market economies around the world. The President has identified international crime as a direct and immediate threat to the national security of the United States. To meet this challenge, the Departments of Justice, State, and Treasury--working closely with numerous federal agencies--jointly developed a comprehensive national strategy to fight international crime and reduce its impact on Americans. The International Crime Control Strategy, which was released in May 1998, provides a dynamic action plan that serves as a roadmap for a coordinated, effective, long-term attack on international crime. The Strategy's eight overarching goals, supported by implementing objectives, are as follows:

  • Extend the first line of defense beyond US borders.
  • Protect US borders by attacking smuggling and smuggling-related crimes.
  • Deny safehaven to international criminals.
  • Counter international financial crime.
  • Prevent criminal exploitation of international trade.
  • Respond to emerging international crime threats.
  • Foster international cooperation and the rule of law.
  • Optimize the full range of US efforts.

At the direction of the President and as part of the International Crime Control Strategy, a US Government interagency working group has prepared the following comprehensive assessment of the threat posed by international crime to Americans and their communities, US businesses and financial institutions, and global security and stability. The assessment is divided into five parts:

  • Chapter I addresses the Global Context of International Crime, identifying those factors--including the implications of a changing world, the greater sophistication of criminal organizations, and institutional shortcomings elsewhere in the world--that have contributed to the growing problem of international crime.
  • Chapter II provides a comprehensive overview of specific International Crimes Affecting US Interests--including their effect on American lives and livelihood, costs to US business interests at home and abroad, and impact on US national security interests around the world.
  • Chapter III addresses Worldwide Areas of International Criminal Activity, particularly as source areas for specific crimes and bases of operations for international criminal organizations. This section includes an analysis of the driving factors in different countries and regions that allow criminal organizations and international criminal activity to flourish, as well as an assessment of the impact of international criminal activity on stability in these countries and regions, including threats to the growth and nurturing of democratic and free market systems. Finally, this section discusses the characteristics, criminal operations, and international presence of organized crime groups originating in these countries or regions.
  • Chapter IV addresses the Consequences of International Crime for US Strategic Interests, including the ability to work cooperatively with foreign governments and the problem of criminal safehavens, kleptocracies, and failed states.
  • Chapter V offers a perspective on the Future of International Crime as it develops in the next 10 years.

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