Prostitution as a possible funding mechanism for terrorism
DiGiacomo, Richard J.
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An essential component of defeating terrorist is targeting their financing and fundraising mechanisms. Successfully targeting terrorist financing may disrupt an organization's existence, prevent an attack, or reduce the harm produced by an attack. As a result of these efforts, al Qaeda faces financial challenges they have not experienced in a decade. Whether in response to these efforts, or as a deliberate strategic shift, terrorist organizations have been extremely adaptive and creative in adjusting their fundraising efforts; specifically turning to criminal enterprises. While there is still debate regarding the level of cooperation between criminal and terrorist organizations, it is generally agreed that terrorist organizations and their affiliates are increasingly relying on criminal enterprises to fund their operations. This thesis will examine whether prostitution is funding terrorism, and if it is logical and reasonable to conclude that a highly adaptable terrorist organization would fund their operations using prostitution. Prostitution is a highly profitable business requiring no specialized skill set and very little cost to entry. The business opportunities are unlimited, and it is business that law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts do not consider as a serious crime, but rather a harmless vice voluntarily entered into by all parties. A failure to seriously consider prostitution as a funding mechanism demonstrates a potentially fatal lack of imagination.
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