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Transnational crime in Sri Lanka: Future considerations for international cooperation

By Mitchell Sutton and Serge DeSilva-Ranasinghe

This report examines transnational, serious and organised crime in Sri Lanka, its impact on neighbouring states, law enforcement cooperation, and the influence of Sri Lanka’s changing geopolitical and economic orientation on criminal activity.

Geopolitical change was a major influence on the patterns of transnational crime in Sri Lanka, especially the end of the civil war in 2009 and the destruction of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE’s demise ended some activity while changing the patterns of transnational crimes such as arms smuggling, people smuggling and human trafficking.

Still, the threat of transnational crime hasn’t disappeared. People smuggling and associated crimes are likely to remain the main concerns for Australia. Drug, arms and human trafficking are likely to pose problems for India and Southeast Asia.

Solutions must necessarily come from both domestic and regional sources, and involve neighbouring states working with the Sri Lankan Government to develop strategies to jointly reduce the threat.