Organised Crime-Maritime Piracy, Smuggling and Human Trafficking

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Organised Crime-Maritime Piracy, Smuggling and Human Trafficking:

Organised crime groups will utilise the Indian Ocean space to conduct their illicit operations (Hastings, 2012). Major crimes include piracy, smuggling and human trafficking. Piracy is a major security challenge in the IOR as it threatens peace and regional stability, trade and commerce as well as international energy movement (Herbert-Burns, 2012). It has encountered a lot of attention within the media as a successful means of financial gain through hijackings of private and merchant vessels. Maritime piracy has been prevalent since the early 1990’s and occurs primarily around shipping lanes (Lehr, 2013). In 2009, the list of reported piracy attacks was over four hundred, in which approximately three hundred of those occurred in the IOR (Hastings, 2012). The operation usually involves the pirates taking the crew or significant members of the crew (the captain) hostage and asking their families or employer for a significant ransom (Laipson, 2009). These ‘pirates’ will commandeer or utilise the crew to steer the ships back to their country. The strategic location of Somalia in the Horn of Africa, makes it an ideal departure location for piracy operations (Bhaskar & Kemp, 2011). The geographical chokepoint of the horn of Africa, in particular the Gulf of Aden, sees regular vessel traffic and this promotes an ideal environment for piracy to thrive. In recent years, piracy operations off the coast of Somalia have
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