Earlier this month, Transparency International, the anti-corruption and pro-transparency think tank based out of Berlin, Germany released their 2013 Global Corruption Barometer. The comprehensive survey revealed that a startling 1 in 4 people had paid a bribe in the last 12 months and over half the people surveyed believed corruption had worsened.
As a follow up to the post a few days ago about Transparency International and their annual Corruption Perception Index, today we will discuss the issue of corruption in a little bit more detail, focusing specifically on one of the most visible byproducts of corruption: bribes. Bribes can come into play just about anywhere and can range from petty shakedown attempts for a few extra bucks to graft in the thousands of dollars. Depending on where you travel in the world and what mode of transportation you are taking, bribes may come in different shapes and forms and be initiated by different types of people. In the case of The World by Road, bribes usually came from street and traffic cops, and anyone who has driven their own vehicle through a foreign country, especially in a developing county, has almost certainly been flagged over and been accused of some falsified infraction that is easily forgotten or overlooked for a price.
As a backpacker, vacationer or tourist, travels are often not as affected when it comes to corruption. Without your own personal transportation, in many cases the wheels are already greased by the bus company, tour operator, or tout that is helping to get you through the craziness of less developed countries.