Applying Technology to Reinforce Security and Promote Development: Fighting Illicit Trade and Converging Threats: LGN Partners with UNICRI

Applying Technology to Reinforce Security and Promote Development: Fighting Illicit Trade and Converging Threats 

Shanghai, China, 4 July 2018 

At the meeting “Applying technology to reinforce security and promote development” organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) at Palais des Nations in Geneva (Switzerland) on 13 June 2018, participants debated cutting-edge issues in the field of crime prevention with a focus on specific tools that aim at enhancing the work of the law enforcement and the judiciary.

Rapid technological advances are providing new opportunities to counter and prevent criminal phenomena such as corruption, illicit trade, organized crime and terrorism. However, the adoption of innovative technological functionalities poses many challenges in term of understanding their potential, benefits, and costs. The meeting aimed at enhancing knowledge on how different key drivers/risk factors may interact in the future and raise new security challenges, and how transformative technologies and innovative solutions can support the development and implementation of sustainable strategies to address these challenges.

Technological advances such as big data analytics and visualization, supply chain security, AI and blockchain have a great potential to become useful tools to better understand evolving trends of criminal activities and to disrupt and target the global illegal economy – including illicit markets, illegal trafficking and corruption. At the same time, they can support better control and monitoring of licit commodities flows and implement improved responses to transnational organized crime infiltration.

To bridge the gap between the security needs of Member States and rapid technological changes, UNICRI launched its SIRIO programme (Security through Research, Technology and Innovation), which works through a rigorous method based on the validation of risk case scenarios on the possible dual application of technologies as a facilitating factor for the perpetration of the crime or as a risk and threat mitigation tool. Risk case scenarios are complemented by the mapping of technology solutions and good practices.

The constantly evolving scenarios increasingly require adequate rapid response capacities from the law enforcement and judiciary agencies, with the potential to produce positive and sustainable impacts in the short and long term.

UNICRI believes that the current acceleration of technological changes requires a policy-oriented discussion in the field of security and crime prevention as well as the prompt development of adaptation capacity to control the impact of advances on societies. UNICRI is supporting Member States through the designing of technical assistance projects on high-tech crimes and emerging technologies, including the development of relevant national strategies and security policies. With this purpose in mind, UNICRI is establishing an international network on exponential technological changes and security.

UNCRI is also committed to harnessing public-private partnerships and ways to leverage technologies to fight today’s transnational threats.

At the 13 June meeting in Geneva, Luna Global Networks & Convergence Strategies LLC (LGN) and UNICRI explained how many of these transformative technologies and smart supply chain solutions can be effective tools in fighting illicit trade. LGN underscored how the global illegal economy is “booming” with a staggering volume of illicit wealth being generated that is financing webs of corruption and criminality around the world. Numerous international organizations have estimated that today’s global illicit markets, and various forms of “convergence crime”, account for 8 to 15 percent of world GDP, or several US$ trillions every year to include illicit trade, corrupt proceeds, and illicit financial flows. For example, the global economic value of counterfeit and pirated goods alone could reach US$2.3 trillion by 2022.

Today’s reality is the one of a world where there is no region, no country and no community that remains untouched by the destabilizing effects and corruptive influence of transnational organized crime and illicit trade. Their impact is truly global and their real threat comes from their convergence. In particular, we must recognize that cross-border illicit trafficking of drugs, arms, persons, cigarettes, counterfeits, endangered wildlife and animal parts, and other illicit commodities and services are fueling greater insecurity and instability around the world.

Given the harms across numerous security threat landscapes, Luna Global Networks (LGN) will become a partner of SIRIO, working with UNICRI to promote cooperation across sectors and cohosting a series of dynamic dialogues with the hi-tech sector and other interested industries and communities to combat illicit trade by harnessing and leveraging innovative technologies such as blockchain, AI, and predictive analytics help to better inform evidence-based research and intelligence assessments, policies, capabilities, capacities, and training and educational awareness campaigns.

Luna Global Networks shared this statement with delegates attending the China Global Trade Development Week (GTDW)-LGN Workshop on Brand Protection: Why Countering Illicit Trade and Promoting Market Integrity Are Vital during the session on Transformative Technologies to counter illicit trade. Luna Global Networks who chaired the 4 July 2018 Workshop also launched in Shanghai a new GTDW Anti-Illicit Trade Alliance (AITA). The next AITA meeting and dialogue will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 20-22 November 2018. 

Luna Global Networks Highlights Importance of Transformative Technologies and BlockChain to Fight Illicit Trade


WASHINGTON, July 6, 2018 ( – On July 4, David M. Luna, President & CEO, Luna Global Networks & Convergence Strategies LLC provided opening remarks at the China Global Trade Development Week (GTDW) held in Shanghai, China and chaired the “Brand Protection: Anti-Illicit Trade” (AIT) Workshop. At the workshop, Mr. Luna highlighted how illicit trade poses many harms across the international community.

Numerous international organizations have estimated that today’s global illicit markets, and various forms of “convergence crime”, account for several trillions of U.S. dollars every year, to include the trafficking of drugs, people (especially women and children), arms, counterfeit and pirated goods, illegal cigarettes and alcohol products, endangered wildlife, pillaged natural resources, and many other illicit commodities, corrupt proceeds and illicit financial flows.

Building on the work of the OECD and its Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, in a 2017 report by the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and the International Trademark Association (INTA), it is projected that the global economic value of counterfeit and pirated goods alone will reach close to $3 trillion by 2022.

Internet online shopping and cybercrime also present a threat to companies and consumers alike. A recent report estimates that the financial costs from cybercrime will double from $US 3 trillion in 2015 to $US 6 trillion by 2021.

In addition to dis-incentivizing innovation and economic damages, Mr. Luna underscored “the impacts include reputational harm, stolen data, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, and other costs.”

“Illicit trade not only results in lost profits for companies, job displacements for workers, business closures, economic hardships for governments when less revenue is brought into the treasuries to fund public services, but also poses grave dangers to public health and safety.”

Illicit trade also has direct impacts on our communities when we realize that close to 40 million people are trafficked or in modern slavery (including millions of children in forced labor); or when communities are increasingly harmed every day from counterfeit medicines, tainted or contaminated food stuff, or when defective automotive and other illicit consumer products kill tens of thousands of people every year, if not more.

Diversion, counterfeiting and smuggling of many of today’s leading brands are very lucrative for criminals — and in some cases, terrorist groups: it is a low-risk, high-reward business.

Mr. Luna said that he is “a big proponent of finding innovative ways to leverage transformative technologies to combat today’s transnational threats.”

I also believe blockchain technology is potentially a game-changer across industries to more effectively counter illicit trade and other threats.

David M. Luna, President & CEO, Luna Global Networks

Anti-counterfeiting strategies and brand protection technologies such as track and trace can help to pinpoint supply chain strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities, criminal exploitation, and brand diversion in cyberspace or in retail stores.

“I also believe blockchain technology is potentially a game-changer across industries to more effectively counter illicit trade and other threats,” said Luna.

“This is why we have added blockchain and other important technologies – such as those being advanced by Chronicled Inc.I-Trace Technologies, and the Asia-Pacific Model E-Port Network Operational Center [APEC APMEN China] – to our GTDW AIT agenda to help communities stop fakes, deadly medicines or other harmful products from entering global supply chains, or to address product diversion from distribution systems.”

At the July 4 GTDW Anti-Illicit Trade Alliance Workshop, Sam Radocchia, co-founder/CMO of Chronicled Inc., was one of the featured speakers and presented on how top illicit markets are becoming larger every day, and how blockchain can help curb illicit trade and promote smart supply chain solutions because of its ability to create unique identities for individual items. In advance of her GTDW AIT event, Ms. Radocchia and Mr. Luna also collaborated on a series of recent articles on ways to harness blockchain to fight illicit trade globally, including, “Combating Illicit Markets With Blockchain: Smart Supply Chains Solutions“. Ms. Radocchia’s latest article which highlights her GTDW AIT presentation can be found at:

Transformative technologies such as advanced analytics, network mapping, and data visualization are also very powerful tools that can help law enforcement communities and industries to identify emerging trends and patterns to anticipate threats, to target specific illicit hubs, and to investigate bad actors engaged in various cross-border trafficking crimes.

Mr. Luna concluded: “Strategic alliances across sectors and industries can be a powerful voice and unifying force to more effectively fight illicit trade across borders, markets, and FTZs. With such coordinated energies, transformative and innovative technologies, and public-private partnerships, we can do more together to tackle these converging illicit harms and security threats including through our new Anti-Illicit Trade Alliance (AITA) in strategic markets.”

Luna Global Networks and KW Group are partnering with the GTDW Advisory Council to bring together action-oriented public and private sector leaders and doers from around the world to advance smart supply chain solutions through strategic alliances on the critical nexus between innovation and investment, and market integrity as part of the Global Trade Development Week (GTDW) Summit series.

Luna Global Networks is also honored to be partnering with United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) on a new Dialogue at the Palais des Nations in Geneva (Switzerland) on UNICRI’s SIRIO program, and partnerships with the hi-tech sector and other interested industries and communities to combat illicit trade and transnational security threats by harnessing and leveraging innovative technologies such as blockchain.

Luna Global Networks will chair the new GTDW Anti-Illicit Trade (AIT) Alliance that will bring new energies and attention to the harms and costs posed by illicit trade globally including in strategic markets such as China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and other vibrant economies in 2018-2020. The next GTDW AITA Rountable and meetings will be in Abu Dhabi November 20-22, and AITA II Dialogue and Workshop in China in 2019.

Find Mr. Luna’s Opening Statement @

You can learn more about Luna Global Networks at

A Strategic Advantage: Luna Global Networks is an international security consultancy well-positioned to help businesses and NGOs tackle among the most pressing illicit trade and governance challenges and related security threats across borders, markets, and industries through convergence strategies and tactical plans that target an illicit threat environment more holistically; net-centric partnerships (a network of networks) that harness collective action through strategic alliances; and the designing of pragmatic training to counter illicit trade, leveraging of innovative net-centric capabilities, and the harnessing of transformative technologies that help produce greater results and more enduring solutions.

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