Sample Research Paper: How globalisation has changed the investigation and punishment of crime

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How globalisation has changed the investigation and punishment of crime


The advent of internet technology has made the world a global village, but has also significantly changed the investigation and punishment of crime. While the fruits of globalisation are notable- trade liberalisation- which enables exchange of goods and services, criminals have taken advantage of the cyber space to commit cybercrime (Ghosh, Robertson and Robitaille 2016).  The internet has spread the cyberspace to all parts of the world, thus enhancing criminal acts. Antony Giddens, the British sociologist who formulated the theory of structuration states that globalisation has blurred time and space- it is possible to commit crime despite the limits of times and space (Ghaderi 2016, p.601). All that a person need is to sit behind a computer and issue commands that are taken up by the members of the organized group. The cyberspace has a capacity of criminal and extensive connection, thus allowing criminals to expand their territory of operation. For example, the transportation of illicit drugs such as cocaine from Mexico to the United States involves a network of individuals who rely on the cyberspace for communication (Ghaderi 2016, p.602). Individuals, therefore, can by-pass law enforcement agencies without being noticed. This paper critically analyses the impact that globalisation has had on the detection, prevention and punishment of crime such as money laundering, corruption and organised crime, human trafficking, drug trafficking and global terrorism.

The impact of globalisation on the detection, prevention and punishment of crime.

The features of globalisation and criminal law include universality, surpassing the boundaries and rationality. In the eighteenth century, the grounded theory dominated the criminal law, and helped researchers to conduct independent study for criminal law and punishment (Ghaderi 2016, p.602). In the Enlightenment Age, researchers employed humanism- the tendency to individualism- in criminal law and punishment. However, the critics to humanism state that it was a response against irrationality of political regimes to gain control (Popoviciu 2012).  Furthermore, development, which is the adaptability to various communities impacts the detection, prevention, and punishment of crime. The advent of globalisation changed the investigation and punishment of crime by involving the criminal law and international human rights. As a result, globalisation made it difficult for criminal law to work with domestic institutions (Ghaderi 2016). Also, it is a time-consuming process to work with domestic institutions.  The following section discusses the instances of detection, prevention and punishment of crimes committed in cyberspace.

Money laundering

Perpetrators of money laundering use computer technology and the internet to transfer money over a network. Online money agencies and banks are the targets for money laundering in the cyberspace. It is difficult to detect the money laundering process because of the use of computer programs that authorize the transfer of money from one account to another (Şcheau and Zaharie 2017). The criminals where masks and hand gloves to hide their identity and the complexity of the process makes it difficult for the authorities to detect the crime. For example, the film, “Money Heist” the Professor uses computer technology to plan and execute a money heist on the Royal Mint of Spain. Although the depiction of events in the film is fiction, it represents the actual incidences in the world where criminals use computer technology to steal money from the Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). For example, Brooke Crothers in the article, “Hackers have found a new way to break into ATMs and steal your cash”, states that hackers can steal bank account information and use to access hijacked accounts (Crothers 2019). The usual technique that hackers use to steal money from bank account holders is to send them a link with a message that their account has been locked. When one clicks on the link, it directs them to a website where they are asked for username, password, and one-time passwords.

Electronic money laundering has been successful due to globalisation. Today, it is possible for hackers to transfer money from an account from any part of the world as long as they have the user’s personal details such as username, and one-time passwords (Şcheau and Zaharie 2017). Financial institutions have put security measures to prevent money laundering in the cyberspace, but the manipulative nature of hackers still makes account owners vulnerable to the scams. Even if the authorities detect, arrest and punish the offenders, financial institutions are still at risk because rarely do the plan executed by one person. Other offenders execute the plan from their computers and as their members serve the time in jail, the leaders continue with phishing process. Therefore, globalisation has made it difficult to detect, prevent and punish money laundering, when committed in the cyberspace because of the limited or unavailability of data relating to the offender.

Corruption and Organized Crime

Organized crime groups such as gangs commit crime at the transnational level with the aid of globalisation. These gangs have networks in several countries, which facilitate their plans. For example, organized groups use globalisation to commit crimes. The threat of corruption and organised crime is a serious concern for countries because of the vulnerability of a country’s internet security (El Siwi 2018).  Also, crimes are committed over the internet, which makes Internet Service Providers (ISPs) targets of law enforcement agencies. However, since the public sector has monopolized the ISPs, it becomes difficult to detect, prevent and punish offenders. Also, the crime act involves more than one person, thus making the investigation process difficult. Authorities and international bodies have failed to criminalize organized crime because of the complexity of the organization. Moreover, domestic law in some countries does not have a clear definition of how to punish organised crime (Hall 2013). The United Nations Convention arrived at a resolution to curb organized crime by harmonisation of domestic legislation with international law. For example, countries such as Iran have neglected to criminalise organised crime, thus making it difficult to punish offenders (Gonzalez 2016). The UN convention policies, therefore, aim at harmonising the domestic law with international law to ensure corruption and organised crime are brought to book. Despite the efforts of the UN to curb corruption and organised crime, globalisation still gives a challenge because of the availability of space and time for offenders. Globalisation has enabled offenders to organise for crime in the cyberspace at any part of the world, thus making it difficult to detect and prevent the crime.

Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking has been enhanced due to globalisation. Offenders can organise human trafficking in cyberspace despite the physical distance between them and the targets. In the case of criminal law and punishment, human trafficking will be discussed in relation to women and children because they are the most vulnerable groups in sexual abuse (Ghaderi 2016). Globalisation has contributed to human trafficking around the world. The factors affecting the detection, prevention and punishment of offenders of human trafficking include; the cyberspace, hegemony and authoritarianism (Boyce et al. 2018). The cyberspace has reduced the time and distance of the victims of exploitation. For example, offenders can organize the trafficking of women and children from Libya to Bahrain by use of the cyberspace. Hegemony, which is the dominance of a social group over others, also enhances human trafficking. However, the offenders need the help of technology to advance their course.  Trafficking of women and children has become a global problem and no country is an exemption because of the availability of the cyberspace (Ghaderi 2016). Due to the nature of human trafficking, which involves the cyberspace, it is crucial for law enforcement agencies to involve community members to reduce or stop the incidences of human trafficking.

Drug trafficking

The cyberspace has significantly affected the detection, prevention and punishment of the offenders of drug trafficking. Despite stringent laws that target drug traffickers, drug trafficking is still a part of not only the United Kingdom, but also the rest of the world. For example, drug trafficking is among the reasons the United States is building a wall along the U.S-Mexico border (Maras 2017). Globalisation has made it difficult to curb drug trafficking because of the availability of the cyberspace, which offenders use to organise the movement of drugs. For example, the available illicit drugs in the UK such as Cocaine is manufactured in Colombia and smuggled into Mexico before it finds its way to North America and eventually in the U.K (Ghaderi 2016). The network of drug trafficking is so organised that it is difficult to detect, prevent and punish the offenders. Also, drug tycoons involve the police and politicians, thus making it difficult to detect crime.

Transnational drug trafficking succeeds because of the internet technology. The gangs are so organised that they have administrations which are organized. The workers take orders from the leaders through a networked system with the aid of cyberspace. Also, the gangs have organised administrations in different countries, thus making it difficult to detect the central administration where the procurement of drugs takes place. Statistics estimates that the world has consumed drugs valuable at £400 billion per year (Boyce et al. 2018).  Researchers state that the amount generated is more than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of all countries in the world except the seven rich countries (Ghaderi 2016, p.603).  The development of computer and internet technology enhanced drug trafficking in the manner that people buy or sell drugs via the internet. People communicate via email using coded language to distribute the drugs. As a result, it becomes difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect and prevent the buying and selling of illicit drugs. Most importantly, drug traffickers are more confident with the cyberspace than the traditional type of drug trafficking.

Global terrorism

The cyberspace has enhanced the global terrorism because of the ease of communication and organising attacks. Global terrorist groups rely on the cyberspace for communication, whether organising an attack or issuing threats. For example, the Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaida use the cyberspace to organise attacks in the targeted locations (El Siwi 2018). Globalisation has facilitated global terrorism because it is easier to send a missile to a specific location by use of computer technology. Global terrorism also involves cyber terrorism where the offenders disrupt the system and network to send a message to the authorities about their (terrorists)’s ability to disrupt the country’s system (Ghosh et al. 2016). The purpose of cyber terrorists is to sabotage the network and disrupt normal operations. Furthermore, cyberterrorist aim at accessing unauthorised computer data to interfere with a certain operation such as air flights. Cyber terrorism is difficult to detect, especially when the criminals use an insider from the organisation. The offenders can by-pass the available security by use of hackers and distort stored data, thus making it difficult to detect the crime.


Globalisation has made it difficult to detect, prevent and punish cybercrime, thus significantly changing the investigation and punishment of crime. Globalisation has blurred the time and space of committing crime such that it is possible to commit crime from anywhere as long as one has accessibility to the cyberspace. Since the cyberspace is available for anyone, it means that people are more vulnerable to cybercrime. The crimes committed using the cyberspace include; money laundering, corruption and organised crime, human trafficking, drug trafficking and global terrorism. First, it is difficult to detect and prevent money launderers who use the cyberspace because of the reduction in time and space of committing the crime. People can steal passwords and personal identification numbers via the internet, which they can use to transfer money from one bank account to another.  Also, due to the physical absence of the offenders, it is difficult to detect and punish the crime. Second, globalisation has facilitated corruption and organised crime where the offenders involve people in authority, for example, law enforcement agencies. Communication via email using coded language makes it difficult to detect and punish crime. Third, globalisation has enhanced human and drug trafficking due to the availability of cyberspace. Offenders can organise for the transportation of women, children and drugs using organised communication channels such as the email. Lastly, it is difficult to detect cyberterrorism because of the availability of internet access to everyone, including people with malicious intentions. However, despite the challenges of detecting, preventing and punishing crime due to globalisation, authorities, through law enforcement agencies continue to intercept several cyberterrorism attacks. Financial institutions have adopted superior software programs which are difficult to by-pass. In addition to security programs, financial institutions have educated their customers how to stay safe and avoid giving out personal identification information to anyone. Human and drug trafficking remains a challenge in globalisation, but the collaboration of domestic and international communities has helped in the detection, prevention and punishment of offenders. Lastly global terrorism is still a menace in the world, which has completely changed the investigation and punishment of crime. Global terrorism has prompted countries to work together to detect and intercept attempts of terrorist attacks. All in all, globalisation the difficulties in detecting and preventing crime has made countries to work jointly to stop crime, thus confirming Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement that we should learn to live together as brothers or we perish together as fools.


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Ghosh, A., Robertson, P. E. and Robitaille, M. (2016) ‘Does Globalisation Affect Crime? Theory and Evidence’, World Economy, 39(10), pp. 1482–1513. doi: 10.1111/twec.12422.

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Maras, M.-H. (2017) ‘Online Classified Advertisement Sites: Pimps and Facilitators of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking?’, Journal of Internet Law, 21(5), pp. 17–21. 

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Şcheau, M. C. And Pop Zaharie, S. (2017) ‘Methods of Laundering Money Resulted from Cyber-Crime’, Economic Computation & Economic Cybernetics Studies & Research, 51(3), pp. 299–314.

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