Launched in September 2017, the second round of PMI IMPACT funded 29 projects with a total of USD 20 million.With a focus on initiatives that address converging forms of illegal trade and related crimes in a wider geographical scope, there were successful applicants from 22 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North and South America. The projects represented a range of sectors including think tanks, research institutions, universities and law enforcement authorities.



The selected projects address multiple aspects of illegal trade - ranging from tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical products to the trafficking of rare animal species. Beyond illegal trade, the projects tackle a broad network of related crimes such as drug trafficking, money laundering and modern day slavery.

The projects had to be completed over the course of two years, and include:
  • Projects that seek to better understand the links and drivers around organized crime and illegal activities in high risk border areas and provide analysis and recommendations on how to tackle them;
  • Actions to use innovative digital tools and solutions to create databases and platforms to allow for the capture and identification of key trends in illegal trade;
  • Initiatives to raise awareness on the impact of illegal trade and develop dialogue between public and private sector actors in tackling the issue; and
  • Programs to tackle specific areas of concern and the links between different forms of illicit trade as part of global criminal networks.

Bahcesehir University

Analysis of the illegal trade in alcoholic beverages, tobacco, fuel and mobile phones in Turkey with the objective to enhance the understanding of supply and demand factors. The project will develop proposals to fight these crimes through better utilization of existing penal legislation and taxation rules.

Basel Institute on Governance

An initiative to promote systematic, intelligence-led action against illegal wildlife trafficking (IWT) networks along the East Africa – Southeast Asia trading chain. It focuses on uncovering and targeting illicit financial flows, strengthening the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute transnational IWT-related financial crimes, and improving coordination across public, private and non-governmental sector actors.

Center of Business Excellence of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

Research to identify the key drivers of tobacco trafficking routes between Asia and Europe as part of the existing organized crime networks. The findings will be used to identify best practice recommendations and to train specialists in countries of the Balkan region.

Centre for Liberal Strategies EFN

Development of a database with analytical capabilities to identify key trends and main drivers of illegal trade at a regional level, focusing on Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Centre for Policy and Governance

Research on the shadow economy in the Western Balkans region focusing on informal labor and illegal trade of high-tariff goods.

Euromonitor International Ltd

A project to develop cross-sectoral policies to counter illegal trade. It will explore and assess the issue in up to 80 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, quantify and qualify the market size, trends, and drivers in 10 selected countries, assess the robustness and effectiveness of regulatory frameworks, and draw correlations across categories and regions.

Faculty of Business Economics and Entrepreneurship

A combination of research, modern education techniques and awareness activities to address illegal trade in the Balkans, including Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project will focus on the illegal trade of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, analyzing the links between illegal trade, corruption and money laundering.

Fraunhofer FKIE

Creation of a digital platform to identify and track critical processes and produce relevant intelligence in the context of illegal trade. Intelligence processes have been developed, tested and proven by governmental security services. The creation and development of the platform in this project will take the knowledge about these processes to adjust them to the private sector’s needs so that the project develops and makes available a platform intended to support companies affected by the problems of illegal trade.

Freeland USA

Development of a data fusion and analytics hub that will harness insights from open source data regarding illicit trafficking in general to inform and improve laws, policies, training, enforcement strategies, and behavior change campaigns, in Asia, with connectivity to Africa and Latin America.

Gendarmería Nacional Argentina

Creation of a Center for the Analysis and Investigation, Command and Control in the fight against organized crime and illegal activities in the Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina Tri-Border Area. The Center will focus on combating and investigating crimes, such as human trafficking and exploitation, drug trafficking, organized crime, money laundering, counterfeiting, and other economic crimes.


Research and in-depth analysis of the international online criminal community to deliver actionable information for the prevention of crimes. The research will examine the most dangerous types of hi tech crimes including illegal trade in rare species of animals, counterfeiting of alcohol and tobacco products, intellectual property infringements, and technology crimes.

InSight Crime

A project to map and analyze criminal dynamics in the border provinces of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, looking at the relationships between different types of transnational organized crime, violence, corruption and criminal actors.

International Organisation of Employers

A project aimed at enhancing the dialogue between the private and public sectors on how to strengthen regular frameworks for migration. It will examine the barriers to recruiting foreign workforce, while also looking at the existing legal pathways that need to be carefully crafted to prevent the risks related to irregular migration.

JHM Pesquisa e Consultoria em Seguranca

Development of a public platform to analyze illegal trade and related crimes around the Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina Tri-Border Area and the main regions of consumption up to the metropolitan region of São Paulo, using socioeconomic data to support the formulation and assessment of public policies.

Mykolas Romeris University

Research into the impact of illegal tobacco trade in Ukraine, Armenia, Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, and Albania, exploring aspects related to corruption, money laundering, and organized crime. This project aims to strengthen cooperation between public authorities, the business sector and academic communities.

National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary

Procurement of X-ray scanners and training of staff at the crossing points of the Ukrainian and Serbian borders for passengers’ baggage to prevent illegal smuggling.

No Peace Without Justice

A project to expose and address the impact of illegal trade on current and future human rights. Its aim is to increase awareness, understanding and commitment among relevant stakeholders, including policy and decision-makers, as well as to secure potential new allies within the human rights community.

Portcullis International Business Consulting (S) Pte. Ltd.

A project to identify the gaps, misconducts and failures in supporting and protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for pharmaceutical consumer products in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The study will focus on the causes of the illicit trade, the impact of corruption and the success factors for effective enforcement.

São Paulo University Support Foundation

The Institute of International Relations from the University of São Paulo will develop a course for police officers from Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina Tri-Border area incorporating different analytical models to explore issues such as the organization of crime, transnationalization of illicit markets and crime, and operational structure of the main illicit markets.

The Foundation for International Human Rights Reporting Standards (FIHRRST)

A project to raise awareness and help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in South-East Asia, examining the issue and its commonly associated crimes such as illegal trade and human rights abuses.

The Mekong Club

A project to engage the banking, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality sectors in tackling the issue of modern slavery by developing tools, data collection techniques, and trainings.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

A project to bridge the gap between the general recognition that Free Trade Zones (FTZs) pose a range of criminal risks and the limited understanding of the scale and nature of those risks to date. The first of its kind, the project will provide a mechanism to enable authorities and business partners to assess overall risk levels in individual FTZs.

The Soufan Group LLC

Research to explore how terrorist organizations and organized criminal groups use transnational smuggling networks in North Africa. It will explore linkages between terrorism, organized crime and the illegal trade, and highlight the transnational crimes of human smuggling, drugs and arms trafficking.


Research on the displacement and convergence of human smuggling and drug trafficking in North Africa. The project will enhance the knowledge among policy makers, experts in the field, regulators, students, the civil society and the general public.

Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade

Development of a Global Illicit Trade Business Report, drawing upon private sector experiences and identifying solutions to supply chain vulnerabilities common to all forms of illicit trade. It examines transportation modalities, customs, free trade zones, human trafficking, criminal activity, financial fraud, and regulatory gaps. Findings will be shared with all stakeholders in response to their calls to significantly upgrade the availability and exchange of information.

Transparency International Turkey

An initiative designed to strengthen integrity systems and raise public awareness to tackle illegal trade and the ‘informal economy’ in Turkey. The project will focus on research, advocacy, awareness raising and capacity building activities.

Ukrainian Institute for the Future

The project is aimed at combating smuggling and illegal trade in Ukraine through monitoring (including the state border), sociological research, advocacy and raising of public awareness activities.

Université de Montréal

This research assesses offline and online law enforcement interventions and their impact on dark net offenders. It is based on online data collection as well as interviews with law enforcement officers to better understand their perception of their interventions. The research results will be broadcasted at an international workshop.

West Sands Advisory Ltd

A project to address the involvement of state-affiliated actors in illegal trade by developing a typology and testable models, covering different types of involvement - from complacency to complicity. This project will ultimately seek to better inform and engage policy makers and the public through media engagement, events and public initiatives.