INTERPOL launches app to better protect cultural heritage



You, the economy, companies and entire nations can all be affected by corruption.

Corruption is universal.

It affects all regions of the world and all levels of society, but the impact is greatest in developing countries.

The effects of corruption are far-reaching: it can undermine political, social and economic stability, and ultimately threaten the safety and security of society as a whole.

Corruption creates a fertile ground for organized criminal activities, even terrorism, as criminals are aided in their illegal activities by the complicity of corrupt public officials.

Economic globalization has made corruption a borderless crime. The competitive world of international business can leave companies exposed to bribes and fraudulent financial practices.

Corrupt transactions can cross multiple jurisdictions, making the ensuing police investigation both time-consuming and complex.


Cyberattacks know no borders and evolve at a rapid pace

Cybercrime is universal.

It affects all regions of the world and all levels of society, but the impact is greatest in developing countries.

Malicious domain. Ransomware. Data-harvesting malware. Botnets. Cryptojacking. The Darknet. . Cybercrime as a service.

Words and phrases that scarcely existed a decade ago are now part of our everyday language, as criminals use new technologies to commit cyberattacks against governments, businesses and individuals. These crimes know no borders, either physical or virtual, cause serious harm and pose very real threats to victims worldwide.

Cybercrime is progressing at an incredibly fast pace, with new trends constantly emerging. Cybercriminals are becoming more agile, exploiting new technologies with lightning speed, tailoring their attacks using new methods, and cooperating with each other in ways we have not seen before.

Financial crime

Financial crime threatens people in every aspect of their lives: at home, at work, online and offline.

First Light.

This operation raids call centres where people cold call victims to trick them into paying out money.


The advent of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin has exacerbated financial crimes, especially money laundering.

Theft, fraud, deception, blackmail, corruption, money-laundering… The possibilities for making money illicitly are seemingly endless. To so-called white collar criminals, the risks appear low and the returns high.

Financial crime ranges from basic theft or fraud committed by ill-intentioned individuals to large-scale operations masterminded by organized criminals with a foot on every continent.

Counterfeit currency and security documents

Fake currency undermines economies while fraudulent identity documents give criminals freedom of movement.

In your pocket?

We have probably all handled a forged banknote at some point, without realizing it.

A passport to crime?

Criminals often travel on false documents, making it harder to identify them.

Counterfeiting is a crime dating back to antiquity. Today, the scope is wider, the impact greater, the tools more readily available and the techniques increasingly sophisticated.

If left unchecked, the circulation of counterfeit currency can undermine national economies, weaken financial institutions and jeopardize people’s livelihoods. It fuels the underground economy and finances the activities of organized criminal networks and terrorists.

The fraudulent use of identity and travel documents – whether they be counterfeit, forged or simply unofficial – is a major threat to both individuals and society as a whole.

Recent developments in photographic, computer and printing technologies, along with the availability of low-cost equipment, have made forgery much easier.

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking affects all parts of the world as either source, transit or destination regions.

Criminals are creative.

Police need to constantly stay on top of new synthetic drugs being produced and new trafficking routes.

The issues

Criminal networks traffic a range of drugs including cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.  As international borders become increasingly porous, global abuse and accessibility to drugs have become increasingly widespread.

This international trade involves growers, producers, couriers, suppliers and dealers. It affects almost all of our member countries, undermining political and economic stability, ruining the lives of individuals and damaging communities. The end-users and addicts are often the victims of a powerful and manipulative business.

Drug trafficking is often associated with other forms of crime, such as money laundering or corruption. Trafficking routes can also be used by criminal networks to transport other illicit products.

As criminals devise ever-more creative ways of disguising illegal drugs for transport, law enforcement faces challenges in detecting such concealed substances. In addition, new synthetic drugs are produced with regularity, so police need to always be aware of new trends and products on the illicit market.

Firearms trafficking

We help police to identify firearms, track their movement and disrupt the supply.


Every firearm is unique and can be identified by its serial number, make, model and caliber.


With over a million records, our iARMS database can help identify trafficking patterns and smuggling routes of firearms.

The issues

The use of firearms by criminals endangers the safety of citizens in all countries of the world. As well as their obvious use in armed robberies and murder, they are also linked to a wide range of other crimes. These include corruption, environmental crime, human trafficking, maritime piracy, organized crime and terrorist activities.

Small arms and light weapons are easy for criminals to conceal and transport, so trafficking in firearms is a lucrative business which, in turn, fuels and funds other types of serious crimes.

“We must connect the dots between crime cases involving firearms across different countries”

Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General

Organized crime

Organized crime networks are billion-dollar businesses operating in many crime areas.

As a general rule, organized criminal networks are involved in many different types of criminal activities spanning several countries. These activities may include trafficking in people, drugs, illicit goods and weapons, armed robbery, counterfeiting and money laundering.

It’s a global business

With revenues estimated in the billons, their criminal enterprises closely resemble those of legitimate international businesses. They have operating models, long-term strategies, hierarchies, and even strategic alliances, all serving the same purpose: to generate the most profits with the least amount of risk.

Members of organized crime groups often share a common link, for example geographical, ethnic or even blood ties.

At the root of this connection is a tight, often unbreakable bond which promotes devotion and loyalty.

What we do

Our Organized Crime unit works hand in hand with all of INTERPOL’s police services to identify major figures involved in transnational crime, the associated criminal networks and their activities.

The ultimate objective is to stop the organizations themselves from operating.

We conduct criminal analysis based on intelligence provided by our member countries and partners, such as biometrics, images and known associations. This allows us to provide a global picture and link organizers, financers, recruiters, distributors and corrupt officials, for example.


Our Organized Crime unit also runs a number of projects which focus on specific types of criminal networks, each of which comes with its unique set of challenges.

These projects encourage national and international enforcement bodies to exchange operational data, best practice and lessons learned with a view to dismantling specific groups.

People smuggling

Complex criminal networks facilitate the illegal passage of migrants across borders – for a price.

A better life?

Criminals take advantage of people seeking a better life and facilitate their illegal entry to a country.

High Profits?

People smuggling syndicates are run like businesses, with high profit margins and relatively low risks.

Hundreds of thousands of people leave their home countries every year to escape conflict and poverty. Many are willing to take desperate measures in the hopes of finding a better life.

Transnational organized crime groups know this and take advantage of people’s desperation. They facilitate the passage of migrants with little or no regard for their safety and wellbeing. What matters is the money.

INTERPOL people smuggling operation Andes
Operation Andes 2018

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that at least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, generating nearly USD 7 billion for people smugglers.

People smuggling is closely tied to the use of fraudulent travel documents and is linked to other crimes such as illicit money flows, corruption, terrorism, trafficking in illicit goods and human trafficking.  

At INTERPOL, our activities focus on identifying and arresting the criminals involved in smuggling, but not the migrants themselves. Our response includes:

  • Operations to dismantle the criminal networks behind people smuggling and related crimes;
  • Specialized training for frontline officers in our member countries;
  • Investigative support for complex international cases;
  • The INTERPOL Specialized Operational Network of experts on smuggling.

Quick response

24 hours

An INTERPOL Incident Response Team can be briefed, equipped and deployed anywhere in the world within 12 to 24 hours.

Did you know?

18 hours

We manage 18 police databases with information on crimes and criminals, accessible in real-time to countries..

- Help us find them ...