In January 2020 I’ll be starting a 5-year, EU-funded project called Trafficking Transformations. I’ve been a bit quiet on the details but as my parental leave is ending and as we gear up for this work, I thought I would share this blurb I wrote for the European Research Council. It’ll give you a taste of what is to come.
Trafficking Transformations (TRANSFORM): Investigating objects as agents in transnational criminal networks
Trafficking represents serious transnational crime which profoundly challenges our physical, social, economic security. Existing policy is ineffective at reducing the flow of many illicit commodities. What if our attempts to disrupt this transnational crime fail because they ignore an important, influential, crucial agent within trafficking networks: the trafficked objects themselves? The EU-funded TRANSFORM project seeks to understand the role that objects play in criminal networks by following the trajectories of trafficked antiquities, fossils, and rare wildlife: “criminogenic collectibles” that appear to inspire criminal behaviour. The result will be a biography of trafficking through the lens of the objects being smuggled. This new and more accurate model of criminal networks can be used to develop effective anti-trafficking policy.