Protection rackets

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Protection rackets

Post  kosovohp on Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:18 pm

Protection racketeering is one of the Sicilian Mafia's core activities. Some scholars, such as Diego Gambetta, see it as a defining characteristic. The Mafia has been described as "an industry of violence", wherein mafiosi use violence to punish anyone who harasses, harms, or otherwise hurts the interests of their protected clients. Mafiosi have protected a great variety of clients over the years: landowners, plantation owners, politicians, shopkeepers, drug dealers, etc. Whilst some people are coerced into buying protection and some do not receive any actual protection for their money (extortion), by and large there are many clients who actively sought and benefit from mafioso protection. This is one of the main reasons why the Mafia has resisted more than a century of government efforts to destroy it: the people who willingly solicit these services protect the Mafia from the authorities.

It is estimated that the Sicilian Mafia costs the Sicilian economy more than 10 billion a year through protection rackets.[40] Roughly 70% of Sicilian businesses pay protection money to Cosa Nostra.[41] Monthly payments can range from 200 for a small shop or bar to 5,000 for a supermarket.[42][43][44] In Sicily, protection money is known as pizzo; the anti-extortion support group Addiopizzo derives its name from this. Mafiosi might sometimes ask for favors instead of money, such as assistance in committing a crime.

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