In a new report, a British anti-poverty charity puts Britain at the center of a growing global mercenary industry worth around $560 million to companies in the United Kingdom alone.
In its report, “Mercenaries Unleashed: The brave new world of private military and security companies,” War On Want names a number of major military and security companies (PMSCs) making vast profits in conflict zones around the world, including Control Risks, G4S and Olive Group.
The U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for example, has awarded contracts to PMSCs in conflict zones with a combined value of around $70 million each year since 2003. This includes nearly $210 million in the five years between 2007 and 2012 awarded for operations in Iraq.
War On Want reports:
“From dependency on Pentagon contracts, they [PMSCs] have found a wealth of new and eager clients amongst the private sector, especially in the extractive industries. They have sought out and exploited political instability in the wake of the Arab uprisings. And they have spread floating armories across the world’s oceans to protect commercial shipping interests. In all of this, U.K. companies are playing a leading role, reaping enormous profits.”
In its report, War On Want says the use of private armies by foreign governments and corporations is increasing rapidly because “states and companies seek to evade responsibility for the use of violent and often deadly force.”