Globalization’s ugly side

Technology is bringing about a rapid change in the modern global environment. Borders between countries are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and communication is instantaneous. While consumers have an incredible amount of access to products and services, so do people with darker intentions. For example, Osama bin Laden has been able to quickly air messages to a global audience because of the vast amount of interconnectivity between news networks.

Terrorism, among other issues, has been the focus of many years of work done by Mary Davis, detective chief inspector of the Avon & Somerset Constabulary in Bristol, England. Davis came to campus Wednesday to speak about the effects of globalization on crimes in action. She is the fourth speaker in the Globalization Speakers Series hosted by the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions.

Davis began her work with the constabulary on the beat and has since worked her way up to management. She does most of her work in investigative training, but for one week out of each month she is on call 24 hours a day as a hostage negotiator.

Hostage negotiation is a complex process that requires a lot of patience and caution. In her lecture, Davis pointed out that there are primary and secondary objectives pertaining to the process. These two levels of objectives are derived from the European Convention on Human Rights and deal with the obstacles that one must take into account when negotiating.

The primary objectives are preservation of life, the prompt and safe return of the hostage and protection of the victim. The arrest of offenders, securing of evidence and recovery of ransom are secondary and subordinate to the primary objectives. Davis said this is sometimes hard for members of the constabulary to understand.

Davis discussed crimes in action, those that are ongoing and occur while an investigation is underway. They can be anything from kidnappings to human trafficking to extortion.

According to Davis, human trafficking is a global issue. Young women are attracted by the promise of high-paying jobs and eventually become prostitutes. Because globalization has essentially localized areas that were once inaccessible, it is very easy to make these girls disappear.

“Two new kidnappings occur in the world every hour,” Davis said.

Organized crime networks have gone global along with big business. The world is in essence contracting, which in turn makes the movements of goods and services easy to accomplish.

The challenges of globalization have brought about the need for enhanced training and exercise. Davis spoke of the need for awareness of global politics and diverse cultures and religions.

“Containment and negotiation will invariably be the appropriate chosen strategy for dealing with many incidents, and it is vital that negotiators possess a generic understanding of the religious and political ideals that motivate radical individuals,” Davis said.