Name: Michael banh
Grade 11 Law
The Italian mafia The Italian mafia (also known as the Cosa Nostra), was formed in Sicily within the mid-1800s. Sicily is located on an island south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea near the southern end of the Italian peninsula. The group was established to unify the Sicilian peasants against their enemies. Each invasion within Sicily (French invasion in 12th century, Spanish in the 13th century, the Germans, the Austrians, and Greeks) resulted in native tribes seeking refuge in the hills of the island. The refugees eventually developed a secret society of unification intended to create a sense of family, based on Sicilian heritage. This mafia has grown worldwide with an estimate of 250,000 members. There is more than one group, and several are still currently active to this day.
They eventually emerged in the mid nineteenth century in Sicily from a troop of honourable men to an organized criminal group. In the course of time, they influenced parts of southern Italy, such as the Camorra, the Stidda, Ndrangheta and the Sacra Corona Unita. Each group known as “family”, “clan”, or “cosca”, (the word cosca is a Sicilian word which refers to any plant- such as the artichoke that has spiny folded leaves which symbolizes tightness of relationships between members of the Mafia), claims over a territory usually within a town, village, or a neighbourhood in larger cities. Eventually they made their way into different countries around the world. They represent themselves as “men of honour”, although the public often refer to them as “Mafiosi” (Mafia in Italian).
These criminal groups shared a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and were mainly involved in protection racketeering. This protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a criminal group or individual seeks a victim (usually a business) to pay money supposedly for protection services against violence or property damage. If they don’t agree on purchasing this protection, their property would be damaged. Their protection is merely only for extortion. Although extortion was their main illegal activity, they were also involved in illegal gambling, political corruption, kidnapping, fraud, counterfeiting, infiltration of legitimate businesses, murder, bombings, and weapons trafficking. Industry experts in Italy estimate that the Sicilian Mafia’s worldwide criminal activity is more than 100 billion annually.
The Cosa Nostra operates through the structure of the mafia. In almost all cases, there is a boss, or also known as the don. He collects most of the money, and makes most of the decisions within the mafia. After this ranking, there is an underboss whom is a member just below the don. The underboss also handles disputes and is ready to become the boss, when the current leader can no longer fill the position. After the underboss, there are people called Capos who are mainly leaders of the drug business within the mafia. The dirtiest rank in the structure is known as the soldiers, who have do anything they are told. They don’t make much money and don’t have much power within the family. Last but not least are the associates. They are called upon by the mafia whenever their help is in need, but aren’t referred to