Before any topic can be adequately understood, it must be defined. There are many different ways of defining a term, which include explaining it, providing a demonstration of it, and experiencing it. In most academic fields, explanation is the most common way to define a concept (although in the natural sciences the preferred method is demonstration through experimentation). Transnational crime contains two distinct concepts: the adjective transnational and the noun crime.

Crime, as a practical matter, is relatively easy to define. Crime is generally considered to be a violation of a law, enacted by a legitimate sovereign political authority, prohibiting certain behavior for the protection of society, individuals, property, and government, the violation of which may be punishment by fines, probation, imprisonment, death, or a combination ...

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