Recent analyses of organized crime point out its similarities to multinational corporate structure: it too has made the transition to a service economy, diversifying and establishing an international commodities market. A 1988 U.S. report on the Cosa Nostra affirmed the bribing of public officials and labor unions, and periodic meetings of the 25 main families to settle disputes. In recent years, Hispanics, Chinese, and other groups have gained a foothold in organized crime through the sale and distribution of drugs in U.S. cities. The collapse of the Soviet Union also helped precipitate the growth of international crime, especially the worldwide trafficking of human beings for prostitution, indentured labor, domestic slavery, child labor, and other illegal practices. Meanwhile, in the last decades of the 20th cent. the traditional Mob increasingly abandoned such blue-collar crime as extortion and construction and trash-removal rackets while continuing its activities in gambling and loan-sharking and turning to such white-collar crime as health insurance fraud, sales of fake telephone cards, and stock swindles.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.