Savvy international travelers know there are more threats in the world than simple pickpockets and distraction artists looking to steal a wallet. In some countries, the biggest scams are set by criminal organizations in corrupt nations, which look to prey on unknowing tourists.
Every year, international non-profit organization Transparency International surveys over 145 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index, in order to determine the most corrupt nations in the world. While countries like Somalia and North Korea often top the list as the most corrupt countries, several other key destinations are also threaten tourists due to public corruption.
If your itinerary runs through one of these nations, be very careful: threats to your well-being may come from muggers and police officers alike. According to Transparency International, these are the most corrupt nations around the world.
The most corrupt nations in Africa
Many developing nations that are not necessarily welcome to tourists ranked very high for public corruption throughout the African continent. For the third straight year, Somalia earned a total score of eight (out of 100), earning them a tie for the most corrupt nation in the world, while also the most corrupt nation in Africa. Several other developing nations, including Libya, Angola, and the Sudans, earned below 20 points in the international survey.
Among the destinations open to tourists, there were still several countries which ranked among the most corrupt in the world. Although Morocco ranked high for corrupton while welcoming over 10 million tourists in 2014 according to the United Nations World Tourism Office, other nations ranked even higher. Zimbabwe, a nation that welcomed 1.8 million tourists in 2014, ranked very high on the most corrupt nations list, earning only 21 points and ranking 156 out of 175 countries surveyed. Kenya, another destination which hosted over one million tourists in 2013, earned 25 points in the survey, ranking them among the top 30 most corrupt nations in the world.
The most corrupt nations in Asia
While the Middle East nations of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan ranked as the the most corrupt nations in Asia, several other nations outside of the Middle East also ranked high for corruption. North Korea tied Somalia for the most corrupt nation in the world, also earning an overall score of eight. In addition, many nations in Southeast Asia ranked in the lower half of the survey, meaning travelers need to beware as they travel to these destinations.
The Transparency Project identified Paupa New Guinea as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, earning only 25 points on their index. In addition, several other nations ranked high for corruption issues throughout the region. Vietnam earned only 31 points in the survey, ranking the communist nation at 119, while Indonesia ranked 107 out of the 175 countries surveyed. Thailand was also of concern as one of the nation's most corrupt nations, earning 38 points in the survey.
The most corrupt nations in the Americas
Travelers within the United States and Canada often do not consider corruption as a major problem. Both nations ranked among the top 20 cleanest nations in the world, despite several nations issuing violence warnings about the United States. However, travelers heading south should take note of corruption issues in the nations they visit.
In South America, Venezuela ranked as the most corrupt nation in the Americas, scoring only 19 on the index. Venezuela also ranked among the top ten most corrupt nations in the world. Paraguay was also noted as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, ranked 150 out of the 175 nations surveyed. Among Central America, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic ranked as some of the most corrupt nations in the world, with each rated in the lower half of the corrupt nations survey.
Finally, Mexico also ranked high for corruption, earning 35 points on the index.
Prior to any trip, travelers need to be understand and assess all of their risks prior to traveling. By being aware of the risk corruption posts, travelers can be prepared to understand the situations they can get into with local authorities, and avoid them at all costs.