Illegal Flows


This page provides many resources to explore the flows of illegal goods. It begins by looking in more depth at the problem of illicit flows in finance, including the huge scale of illicit flows from developed and developing regions. It then introduces a mapping activity on all illegal flows as well as the illegal drug trade. There are a number of short videos that develop the flow of counterfeit goods and people trafficking, before students explore the concept of nexus thinking and apply it to the problem of transnational organized crime as well as the threat of global terrorism.

Enquiry Question

What is the spatial pattern of illegal flows such people trafficking, counterfeit goods and narcotics?

Lesson Time: 1 Hour

Lesson Objectives:

  • To describe the pattern of illegal flow such as finance, people trafficking , counterfeit goods and narcotics

Teacher Notes:

Starter - Short text on illicit Financial Flows - Students should read the text and discuss its implications

1. SwissLeaks Gallery - Students can then watch a selection of graphics showing the scale of illicit flows through Switzerland

2. Map - Crime Flows - Students should then look at the maps on  illegal flows and crime zones. Student can add this as a layer to their outline map

3. Gallery of Illegal Drug Flows - Students should add to their own map using the gallery of maps based on illegal drugs flows

4. Counterfeit Goods - Students should first look at the infographic on types of counterfeit goods flows and then follow this up with the video - they should answer the questions on their worksheet

5. Human Trafficking - Students should just watch the first minute of the video on human trafficking and note down the scale of the problem and the reasons behind it. This can be followed up with the second more in depth video and again students should add to their notes, and develop understanding of how technology can support trafficked people.

6. Organized crime Nexus - Show the students the gallery of graphics and students should discuss the extent to which they thing a nexus exists between human trafficking, drugs trafficking and counterfeit goods

7. EU Responses - Students should then watch the EU video and make notes on the response the EU is taking against organized crime

Student Textbook Links

Starter Activity_Illegal flows in Finance_ Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Read the following text extract from the report titled “Financial Flows and Tax Havens by Global Financial Integrity (FGI) and discuss the implications of illicit flows in finance.

Offshore tax havens, beginning in the 1930s and exploding across the world since, undermine the capitalist system. The Economist Adam Smith expected that people of principle and character would operate the free markets he envisioned. Illicit flows, financial secrecy, and tax evasion have forestalled his ambitions for equitable economic participation by all. At the center of this most unfortunate development sit the offshore centers facilitating criminal, corrupt, and commercially tax evading financial flows, having their most damaging impact on the poor of the world. It cannot be argued that the small role tax havens may play in legitimate dealings justifies their far more damaging role in intermediating illicit flows which are the main drivers of NRTs from developing countries.

Student Activity_Illicit Flows in Graphics_Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Study the following slideshow based on graphics from SwissLeaks and data from the World Bank in 2013

Student Activity_Crime Flows_Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

  1. Discuss as a class other types of global illegal flows
  2. Study the map in the hidden box below
  3. Study the second map showing the connection of illegal flows with conflict zones and add the conflict zones as a layer to your map.
  4. Discuss what this tells us about the spatial pattern of illegal flows

Source: Source: UNODC

Student Activity_Mapping Drug Flows_Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Using the gallery of maps below make your own world map of illegal drug flows

World Map Illegal Drug Flows

Student Activity_Counterfeit Goods Flows_Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Study the following graphic, which shows the types of counterfeit goods being seized

Watch the OECD video and answer the questions on the worksheet provided

Counterfeit Goods Worksheet

Source: Economist

Student Activity_ Human Trafficking_Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Watch the first 1 minute of the following video from the EU on human trafficking and make notes on:

  1. The scale of the problem in the world and the EU
  2. The reasons why people are traffficked

Student Activity_ Human Trafficking_Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Watch the following video from the Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network and make notes on the following:

  1. The scale of the problem
  2. The dynamic nature of human trafficking
  3. How technology can support victims of trafficking

Student Activity_The Transnational Organised Crime Nexus_Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Nexus: A connection or series of connections linking two or more things

Study the following images in the gallery below and suggest the connections between them

To what extent do you think there is a nexus between human trafficking, drug trafficking and counterfeit goods?

Student Activity_The EU and Transnational Organised Crime_Places, Processes, Power and Spatial Patterns

Watch the following video and make notes on TOC in Europe and how Europe intends to tackle the problem

Student Activity - Essay Question on Illegal Flows - Processes and Spatial Interactions

Using examples discuss the pattern of illegal flows and examine their interconnection (12)

  • Discuss requires an in-depth knowledge and understanding of different illegal flows. The patterns of these flows should well described and explained.
  • The interconnection between them should be well developed along with networks and different interest groups
  • A broad range of examples, including types of illegal flows, players and regions should be established as evidence for the discussion
  • The conclusion is consistent with the main body of evidence and summarizes the main argument
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