The Camorra is a mafia-like criminal organization, or secret society, originating in the region of Campania and its capital Naples in Italy. It finances itself through drug trafficking and distribution, human smuggling, prostitution, toxic waste disposal, construction, loan sharking, gambling, arms smuggling, extortion, protection and racketeering and its activities have led to high levels of murder in the areas in which it operates. It is the oldest and largest criminal organization in Italy. The origins of the Camorra are not entirely clear.
It may date back to the 16th century as a direct descendant of a Spanish secret society, the Garduna, founded in 1417. Officials of the Spanish Kingdom of Naples may have introduced the organization to the area, or it may have grown gradually out of small criminal gangs operating among the poor in Neapolitan society near the end of the 18th century. The evolution into more organized formations indicated a qualitative change: the Camorra and camorristi were no longer local gangs living off theft and extortion; they now had a fixed structure and some kind of hierarchy.
Another qualitative leap was the agreement of the liberal opposition and the Camorra following the defeat in the 1848 revolution. The liberals realized that they needed popular support to overthrow the king. They turned to the Camorra and paid them, the camorristi being the leaders of the city’s poor. The Camorra effectively had developed into power brokers in a few decades. One of the Camorra’s strategies to gain social prestige is political patronage. The family clans became the preferred interlocutors of local politicians and public officials because of their grip on the community.
In turn the family bosses used their political sway to assist and protect their clients against the local authorities. In recent years, various Camorra clans have been forming alliances with Nigerian drug gangs and the Albanian Mafia, even going so far as to intermarry. For instance, Augusto La Torre, the former La Torre clan boss who became a pentito, is married to an Albanian woman. It should also be noted that the first foreign pentito, a Tunisian, admitted to being involved with the feared Casalesi clan of Casal di Principe.
The first town that the Camorra gave over to be completely governed by a foreign clan was Castel Volturno, which was given to the Rapaces, clans from Lagos and Benin City in Nigeria. This allowed them to traffic cocaine and prostitutes before sending them across the whole of Europe. Transnational organized crime (TOC or transnational crime) is organized crime coordinated across national borders. Transnational organized crime is widely opposed on the basis of a number of negative effects.
It can undermine democracy, disrupt free markets, drain national assets, and inhibit the development of stable societies. In doing so, it has been argued, national and international criminal groups threaten the security of all nations. Although the organisation Interpol exists to coordinate intelligence efforts between national law enforcement agencies, it is not an international police force, and indeed no such international law enforcement body with universal jurisdiction exists.
Law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation are employed by nation-states to counteract international organised crime. Serious international crime, such as crimes against humanity, may be investigated by the International Criminal Court, but it does not have the power to take suspects into custody, instead relying on the support of law enforcement and military force in relevant countries.