In the 1980s, the Mafia has come under increasing attack for its involvement in international narcotics smuggling, but may be so entrenched in society that it will be almost impossible to eradicate. Moreover, as the decades progressed, more and more Mafia money was funneled into legitimate business operations, often in real estate deals, and it is almost impossible to legally prosecute many of the top members since they have taken great steps to insulate themselves from prosecution (Balsamo & Carpozi, 1988, pp. 363-369, passim).
Since the Mafia, in one way or another, controls the large portion of the importation and distribution of illegal drugs in the United States today, it is interesting to note that recent research has shown that even as early as the turn of the century, women were only peripherally involved in the cocaine trade in major urban areas like New York City. In fact, of the 263 dealers taken from statistics in the Bureau of Social Morals, only four were women. However, these statistics present only those women who had direct involvement in the crime. With a more careful reading of the research, one finds that women were, in fact, involved on the periphery of many of the incidents of crime, not just cocaine, during the period in question (Block, 1979, pp. 75-99).
This brings up an interesting sociological factor involving women on the edge of organized crime. Women are clearly affected by the occupations of members of their family. In the case of the Mafia, many of the women must live a rather secluded life, socializing only with other wives and family members from other Mafiosi. As well, the pressures placed upon them by their husbands, and perhaps sons, are enormous. Psychologically, they must continually fear for the welfare of their family, and indeed they never know just when or if the male members of the family will be indicted or assassinated. Since the precarious nature of the business impacts on ...
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