Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Criminals See Gold at Olympics

By Peter Edwards

From the Star:

It's not just the gymnasts, grapplers and jumpers who are worth watching at this summer's Beijing Olympics, a British organized crime expert says.

It's also the prostitutes – or lack of them."China is a police state and it's a police state that is paranoid about its image," says Misha Glenny, author of McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld.

China has already ordered a "social cleansing" to clear Beijing of beggars, hawkers and prostitutes, but keeping crime groups from flooding the host city with hookers poses an Olympian task.Human trafficking is a key staple of 21st-century organized crime groups, along with narcotics and weapons, Glenny said.

The 2004 Athens Olympics and 2000 Sydney Games were each marked by massive influxes of prostitutes.

Canadian officials have already been warned to brace themselves for more of the same at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The Future Group, an organization that combats human trafficking, has warned the B.C. and federal governments in a report called "Faster, Higher, Stronger: Preventing Human Trafficking at the 2010 Olympics."

Glenny said he finds it tough to look at major international events like the Olympics, or shifts in government policy, and not wonder how they might benefit the myriad international crime groups he has studied.

"Whenever a big political event takes place, I don't look at it through the same eyes any more," said Glenny, a former BBC correspondent in the former Yugoslavia and Southeast Asia and the author of two books on the Balkans.

The fall of communism and the liberalization of international financial markets over the past two decades have created an exponential growth in organized crime around the world, said Glenny, who's based in England and acts as a political policy adviser.

Read the full article

No comments:

Post a Comment