The Anti-Illicit Trade Institute (AITI), Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption Center (TraCCC), GMU

Global Hub for Research and Training to Fight a Multi-Trillion Dollar Illegal Economy

Today’s global illicit markets generate trillions of US dollars every year for transnational criminal organizations, complicit corrupt facilitators, and other threat networks involved in the trafficking of narcotics, arms, and people; fake medicines; counterfeit and pirated goods; illegal tobacco and alcohol; illegally-harvested timber, wildlife, and fish; pillaged oil, diamonds, gold, natural resources and precious minerals; stolen antiquities; and other contraband or commodities. They are sold on our main streets, social media, online marketplaces, and the dark web. 

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Anti-Illicit Trade Institute (AITI), Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption Center (TraCCCSchar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University (GMU)

The AITI will be at the forefront of today’s globalized and rapidly changing world and will advance academic excellence through pioneering research, inter-active educational approaches, and a best-in-class training curriculum on cross-border governance and market security threats.

The AITI will bring together international partners from diverse communities to focus on the importance of global illicit trade, while raising awareness of the harms and effects of illicit trade on government institutions, economies, markets, industries, and consumers to:

  • promote high-quality educational programs through substantive and pragmatic instruction and in-depth training for students, government officials, diplomats, business executives, lawyers, finance professionals, and civil society leaders;
  • engage in cutting-edge research and create an AITI Knowledge Hub;
  • foster comprehensive dialogues, exchanges, and understanding on the array of harms caused by illicit trade and accompanying money laundering;
  • support international conferences and workshops; and
  • undertake outreach via dynamic public-private partnerships.
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Beginning in 2020, the AITI will include a core of anti-illicit trade executive-tailored courses and on-line instruction related to:

  • developing effective strategies for fighting illicit markets;
  • investigating and prosecuting illicit trade (the importance of intelligence- and information-sharing across borders);
  • targeting webs of corruption and criminality by following the money and “value” (money-laundering/trade-based money-laundering);
  • tackling cybercrime and dismantling on-line markets related to Intellectual Property (IP) crime including counterfeit and pirated goods; and other important anti-crime and criminal justice areas.

The AITI will be spearheaded by Louise I. Shelley, the Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Endowed Chair and Professor at George Mason University, and David M. Luna, a former senior U.S. diplomat and national security official, former chair of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, and vice-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council’s Illicit Trade and Organized Crime group.

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