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Organized crime is a growing problem throughout the world. The United Nations reports that criminal activity kills more people than both armed conflict and terrorism combined. In the last 20 years, these groups have killed over a million people. Today, Italy holds criminal organization that’s considered to be the most powerful worldwide. Between the old cobblestone streets and breathtaking views, one may never notice the hidden presence of the mafia.

Originally, organized crime groups were most prevalent in southern Italy. While law enforcement focused heavily on the south, other discreet mafia groups started to rise. Many Italians may never come face to face with criminals, but their daily lives may be influenced. Crime groups have their hand in the economy and medical field through manipulation and by forming connections with powerful people.

Politico reports that it’s possible the mafia is hijacking COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Italy. Although some government officials are aware of the growing problem, it’s believed they are not making it a priority. Libera, an anti-mafia organization in Italy is taking the initiative to stop them.  

Libera has been aiding to the victims of the mafia since 1995. They do this by standing next to them and not leaving them alone in court to fight for justice. Vicenza Rando, the vice president of Libera said, “We wanted to create a culture of legality and responsibility to fight the mafias from a social point of view while standing next to the victims and not leaving them alone.” Libera also works with schools and universities to educate the youth about the mafia. Through education, they hope to stop young people from getting involved in organized crime someday.

Libera is a reputable organization with almost 300 offices throughout Italy. While being a well-known organization is beneficial, it also is dangerous. “The mafia doesn’t like me because I create problems for them. Our president who is a priest has had bodyguards for many years. At the moment I’m trying to avoid having bodyguards because I like freedom but I’m aware my life is in danger,” said Rando. One night, the mafia even broke into one of their offices to look through their files and records.

While the work is dangerous, Libera is not intimidated and believes they can defeat the mafia. “We have the voice, the culture, the education, people who are educated cannot be afraid of them.” To help continue the work Libera is doing, visit their website