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The Mafia is perceived many different ways in the media, but the truth is, most people dont know that the Mafia is very real, and still thriving today. In big cities, in the U.S. and Italy, the Mafia stays hidden away from the outside world. If you visit Sicily, you probably wont see or hear bout the Mafia. This makes it seem as if it was a thing of the past, and that it doesnt affect us anymore. This is a common misconception, and to truly understand the workings of the Mafia, you must go back to its birth.

The Mafia originally was formed in the 1800s in a place called Sicily, an island in Italy. This crime organization started out as loan-sharks with only 100\% pure Italians as members. Loan-sharks are basically people who will let you borrow money for ridiculous or hidden interest. Loan-sharks like the Mafia would often threaten or even kill their client and their clients family if the debt was not paid to them in the specified time limit. This leads one to wonder, Why would anyone ever burrow from the Mafia with such high risks involved? The answer is simple. During the time of the Mafias birth, unemployment in Sicily was 30\%, and therefore people would do anything for money to live on. As the number of their clients grew, so did their income.

The Mafia started to become more powerful, and more serious. They started to kill more often, and also started drug trafficking. This means that the Mafia would transport drugs from dealers to clients, or just keep it for themselves. They also got mixed up in prostitution. In many incidences, members girlfriends would whore themselves and the members would make a profit from it. Like the drugs trafficked, they would often hire prostitutes for personal use too.

During the mid 19th century, many Italians immigrated to America. This includes the Mafia. The Mafia families immigrated and settled mostly in big cities such as New York City and Chicago, and their timing couldnt have been better. This is because they came right as the Prohibition was in affect. The Prohibition was from 1919-1933, and outlawed drugs and alcohol. Being expert drug traffickers, the Sicilian Mafia took advantage of the new American laws by selling drugs and alcohol to Americans illegally. This made them very rich. "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the woman," said Al Picino in Scarface. That is the truth. With so much profit coming from the Prohibition, the Mafia became very rich and powerful. You may be wondering, All this illegal activity going on and they are getting away with it? Yes, yes they are. It may appear as if the police were unaware of the Mafia, which is probably what happened at first.

The Mafia kept hidden for so long because they had a series of simple rules to keep them hidden. Some included Only Italians belong in the Mafia, Omerta which is the code of silence that prohibits a member to talk about family business with outsiders, You may only replace a member if he gets killed by someone outside of the family. If a family member kills another member, he cannot be replaced. ,etc. Punishment for breaking any of the rules makes you a rat and the Mafia will hunt you down and kill you. The Mafia became very powerful, stayed hidden, and was successful because of timing, and family rules.

My conclusion is that the Sicilian Mafia started in Sicily, but then immigrated to America. They became powerful through the Prohibition, stayed hidden from the law and the public, and prospered. They were so popular, they even spawned similar organizations in other countries such as Japans Yakuza, Chinas Trinidad, Mexicos Mafia, and Russias Mafia. The Mafia still lurks in big U.S. cities, but you wont hear or see them unless you are really looking for them. The Mafia has gotten a little less radical because of advances in law enforcement. The Mafia could yet reign supreme, but I personally think that when they come back, it will be a much different Mafia than we knew before. I see a Cyber-Mafia in the future, hacking computers and servers and such. I think that this is more likely than a total comeback of the old Mafia.

The Mafia had the cunning and power to overcome anything that stood a threat to them in the past, and they thrived because of that attitude. So my advice to you is, if you are in a tight squeeze and looking for a loan, go to a loan agency, not the Mafia. Getting mixed up with them could be, and most likely will be deadly.

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Leonor FlowersBy:
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