Sample Law Paper on The Growth of Illicit Commerce

Part One

Question One

For several decades, global geopolitical regions have witnessed a massive and explosive growth of illicit commerce. Even well-established markets and democracies such as the United States have had to bear the full brunt of illicit commerce despite the significant efforts put in place to safeguard its borders. One of the greatest challenges faced by authorities across the globe is the almost ubiquitous nature of black markets. The ubiquity of black markets is witnessed not only its geopolitical perversion; it is a thriving underworld market that targets a wide variety of commodities ranging from human organs to endangered species of plants and animals and art. Moreover, the underworld market is supported by legal and illegal individuals including government officials, professionals, drug lords, criminal gangs and even multinational companies. It is a multibillion-dollar market with well-structured yet amorphous entities and channels that have thrived globally for decades. Therefore, this begs the question: what are the major drivers of illicit commerce?

The two major drivers of illicit commerce are demand and supply: the two critical factors that drive legal business globally. Demand and supply of commodities sold in the illicit market are driven by what has been termed as “criminogenic asymmetries” (Ambagtsheer 76). Due to structural dysfunctions, governments are unable to meet the ever-growing demand for commodities, such as organs for transplant. Consequently, legal and illegal parties, including multinational companies and drug traffickers have taken advantage to fill the supply gap that continues to grow due to rising demand. In some cases, such dysfunctions have led to the failure to put in place effective policies and instruments that can monitor the underworld market. Without effective systems, gangs such as Chinese gangs have developed elaborative underground channels and networks to smuggle the various commodities that are traded in the black market (Naylor 2004, p. 274; Steinberg 158).

The thriving of these illegal channels and networks has also been enabled by mismatched and inequitable laws and economic practices and policies. Inequitable distribution of economic resources and opportunities has led to high levels of poverty among many people across the globe to the point of desperation. The desperate and poor are vulnerable to manipulation by criminals and illegal and legal players who willingly participate in illicit commerce at the detriment of these poor people (Naylor 2008, p. 273; Spener 299 – 300). The high level of economic inequalities across the globe is one of the primary drivers of supply on the black market. The increasing number of desperate people willing to engage in illicit commerce activities such as organ sale and killing and selling of endangered species of plants and animals has also driven the supply of these commodities. The supply of commodities in the black market is also driven by an increase in the value and hence, prices of these commodities as well as technological developments.

Question Two

Due to the complexity of illicit treasures business, effectively preventing or reducing it requires concerted efforts at a multinational level. Dipping illicit commerce requires multinational laws that are implemented at a global level. However, it is not a realistic goal because it requires more than multinational laws to achieve. It requires a unity of purpose and political will continue globally. International cooperation across the world is not realistically attainable. It requires global diplomacy; a challenge that eluded the world for decades. There are also pockets of dissenting nations in the global community which has allowed black market operators, channels, and networks to thrive.

Other factors such as an increase in the value of treasures and global income disparities which also drive up the supply of these illicit treasures have complex roots. There are no effective solutions at a global scale that can fix such problems that promote illicit commerce. Illicit treasure commerce can, therefore, be reduced but not effectively prevented.

Part Two: Literature Reviews

In his discussion on why illicit commerce of human organs is thriving, Frederike Ambagtsheer notes that technological advancements in various fields, including in the transportation and medicine, have played a significant role. The invention of cyclosporine drove the demand for organ transplant since it prevents transplanted organ rejection as it suppresses the immune system. Moreover, technology has made it easier for organ harvesting, storage, and transportation. However, the supply of human organs cannot meet the resulting demand. Ineffective laws, economic policies, and systemic failures have led to human organs trafficking as poor and vulnerable individuals fall victim to legal and illegal players.

Ambagtsheer’s article is well-referenced, which makes his arguments valid and credible. The article is also easy to the reader as the author topically tackles the issue. It is easy to follow his thought train and understand key aspects of his arguments. The article objectively covers the issue by corroborating his arguments with information from various geopolitical regions.

Jonny Steinberg’s article focuses on the explosion of abalone in South Africa. The author argues that illegal trade in the endangered species that is endemic to South Africa has been driven by the presence of organized Chinese criminal networks which controlled trade routes for contraband commodities. This made it easier for abalone to be smuggled out of the country. He further argues that the drop in the value of the South African Rand, when compared against the U.S. dollar, made it cheaper to purchase abalone in the country and sell it for a higher value in the black market. Other factors which promoted the illicit commerce include porous borders and poaching.

One of the key strengths of this article is the use of evidence, including narratives from locals to validate the arguments., which ensures that the author adds a credibility edge to his arguments. Moreover, the article is well-researched and covers the topic in a manner that is devoid of bias.

Naylor, in his article on the explosive growth of illicit art trade, argues that such explosion was driven by a speculative increase in demand for collectibles, the presence of illegal players within the supply chain such as organized crime networks, and insiders and fraudulent supply, especially with the emergence of technologies for forging artworks. The liberalization of markets couple by con artists and thieves also led to the thriving of illicit trade of collectibles.

The article is objective in its coverage of the topic and uses examples and information that are in the public domain, which grants the author a level of credibility. By making references to historical facts and events and corroborating with current affairs, the author ensures that his coverage of the issue is broad and well-grounded. It was easy to follow his thought process because the article topically covers the issues.

In his article that covers human smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico, David Spener argues that the practice is still carried out by small-scale smugglers who sometimes engage in the illegal activity on a part-time basis. They do so despite the emergence of syndicates which use sophisticated systems to smuggle Mexican migrants across the border due to the implementation of stricter border monitoring policies and systems.

Spener’s article is well-researched and highly referenced with historical and current information on human smuggling. His arguments are credible and valid because evidence backs them. Following his train of thought was also easy because he topically discusses the matter in addition to ensuring that his arguments are objective.

Naylor’s discussion on the illicit sale of ivory, which continues to threaten the existence of the endangered elephants, points to the role of organized crime networks in the success of the trade. He discusses the environmental implications of ivory trade and the history of ivory trade in Africa. He notes that the illicit trade has been fueled by the increase in ivory value and demand, the emergence of poachers and profiteers and environmental degradation.

Naylor’s article is ] objective and broad. It goes beyond the economics and highlights the environmental factors associated with the ivory trade. The article is also highly detailed and provides an informative historical background of the illicit trade in a well-referenced and topical manner that makes it easier to understand.


Works Cited

Ambagtsheer, Frederike. ‘The Black Market in Human Organs.’ In Deviant Globalization. N.p.

Naylor, R.T. The Underworld of Ivory. Crime, Law & Social Change 42, 2004, pp. 261–295

Naylor, R.T. The Underworld of Art. Crime Law Soc Change 50, 2008, pp. 263–291.

Spener, David. Mexican Migrant-Smuggling: A Cross-Border Cottage Industry. JIMI/RIMI, vol 5, no .3, 2004, pp. 295-320.

Steinberg, Jonny. ‘The Illicit Abalone Trade in South Africa.’ In Deviant Globalization. N.p.