ICAIE Issues New Report on the Dark Side of Illicit Economies and Trade-Based Money Laundering: Free Trade Zones, Ports, and Financial Safe Havens

The staggering multi-trillion dollar global illicit economy is thriving from dirty money derived from an array of cross-border smuggling and trafficking crimes. Free trade zones, poorly regulated ports, ineffective enforcement of beneficial ownership laws and secretive financial hubs are threat multipliers that expand dark commerce, as criminals exploit cracks and seams in the global financial and trading systems to advance illicit trade and hide their profits. No one alone can fight illicit economies; public-private partnerships are critical.

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the International Coalition Against Illicit Economies (ICAIE), a national security non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC, released a new 2022 report entitled, "The Dark Side of Illicit Economies and TBML: Free Trade Zones, Ports, and Financial Safe Havens". The ICAIE report and recommendations outline the importance of public-private partnerships to counter illicit trade and TBML. ICAIE highlights the importance of leveraging strategic intelligence, network analytics, and pattern-of-life forensics to disrupt the logistics, financial wherewithal, and corruptive influence of criminals and their complicit enablers across borders, trade hubs, illicit economies, free trade zones (FTZs), and vulnerable ports. While the report has a focus on the Americas, it also illuminates the convergence of transnational criminal activities and illicit financial threats across other regions and global supply chains.

In recent decades the confluence of transnational criminal structures and illicit economies has grown to create a clear and present danger to global security by siphoning trillions of dollars from legal economies. These funds fuel growing corruption, instability and violence while destabilizing markets in the Americas and around the world. Criminal actors and threat networks connected through global super fixers exploit advances in technology, transportation and other critical infrastructure for illicit enrichment. In these dangerous times, converging illicit vectors erode our collective governance, prosperity, and security.

"Illicit trade, the trafficking and smuggling of counterfeit goods, narcotics, humans, natural resources, WMD, illicit cigarettes, and other contraband impact the security of all societies. Kleptocrats, criminal organizations, terrorist groups, and their enablers exploit networked hubs of illicit trade centered on free trade zones, ports, and other logistical channels of transportation, communications, and trade," said David M. Luna, ICAIE Executive Director. "This allows illicit networks - such as the Chinese triads, Mexican cartels, Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), and Hezbollah - to profit from an array of criminal activities and corrupt institutions, drain resources for economic development, and compromise the integrity of supply chains. No country is immune from these pernicious security threats in the globalized world."

ICAIE brings together diverse champions across sectors and communities, including former members of the public sector, companies and prominent organizations from the private sector and civil society to mobilize energies to combat cross-border illicit threats that endanger U.S. national security. In the coming months, ICAIE is committed to raising awareness of the harms and impacts of illicit economies, TBML, and crime convergence in risky FTZs and criminalized ports.  ICAIE's engagement will include briefings in the U.S. Congress, the White House and federal government, and across the international community including at the 2022 Concordia Americas Summit in Miami in July. ICAIE will also continue to support the United to Safeguard America from Illegal Trade (USA-IT) alliance to fight illegal trade across the country.

Find Full ICAIE Report and visit us at: 



David M. Luna

Executive Director

E: DavidLuna@ICAIE.com

Related Images

Image 1: ICAIE Report: The Dark Side of Illicit Economies and TBML

The Dark Side of Illicit Economies and TBML: Free Trade Zones, Ports, and Financial Safe Havens

Image 2: ICAIE


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ICAIE Report: The Dark  Side of Illicit Economies and TBML