Munich Security Conference

Cooperating Across Borders: Tackling Illicit Flows

Transnational Security Report


Over the past few decades, illicit exchanges have grown significantly in scale, as the staggering extent of the problem illustrates: Illicit flows resulting from cross-border criminal operations – such as arms, tobacco or pharmaceuticals smuggling – are estimated to account for between USD 1.6 and 2.2 trillion annually,3 nearly the size of the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP).4 As this dirty money lines the pockets of malevolent actors from armed groups to terrorist organizations, and even rogue states, illicit flows can evolve into global threats to peace and security.