• Transnational crimes are a growing threat for our societies. Globalization favors rapid international travel, immediate communications, transnational migrations, and multinational businesses engaging in worldwide trade. As such, globalization facilitates also the transnational movement of illicit goods and the provision of illicit services at the international level.
  • Drug trafficking and human smuggling occupy a prominent position on the international political agenda because of their global scale, which exacerbates their negative impact on individuals and communities.
  • Drug trafficking is one of the most profitable illegal activities for organized criminal groups because of the high prices paid for drugs in destination markets.
  • Human smuggling poses direct challenges to sustainable development in origin, transit, and destination countries and to the respect of human rights.


  • Transnational crimes exploit opportunities generated by asymmetries among legislations and law enforcement capabilities, as well as other national and international vulnerabilities.
  • Variations in law enforcement actions and in the regulatory framework affecting criminal opportunities may result in changes in offender behavior. Consequently, crime prevention measures may displace crime from one place, time, target, offense, tactic, or offender to another. The same actions may create an environment particularly favorable to crime commission in another context. In turn, this may cause illicit activities to converge on a particular place, time, target, offense, tactic or offender.
  • Displacement may hamper the efficiency and effectiveness of regulatory changes and law enforcement actions, possibly resulting in counterproductive operations. Convergence may increase the impact of a crime due to its concentration.
  • The effectiveness of regulatory reforms and law enforcement actions is crucial for creating fairer societies. Unintended consequences, such as displacement and convergence, should be considered in both the design and the evaluation of policies and actions.
  • The true extent and nature of displacement and convergence among transnational crime types remains largely unknown. Most understanding of crime displacement comes from local level domestic crime phenomenon.
  • Though displacement is commonly claimed to be an inevitable outcome of any enforcement activity, research has found that it does not always happen. In other instances, even when some displacement does occur it still produces beneficial results since the extent of the problem was minimized.
  • A clearer understanding of displacement and convergence among transnational crimes offers to improve both national security efforts and initiatives to safeguard human rights.


  • Migratory flows between North Africa and Europe are among the largest in the world, if not the Migration to Europe is a crucial topic of political debate, spurring discussion on social issues extending beyond the mere migratory question.
  • Mediterranean Sea routes are the most dangerous and deadliest migratory routes in the world. Better understanding of human smuggling dynamics in this area is crucial if the human cost of migration is to be reduced.
  • North Africa is a relevant hub in the global drug trafficking network, playing a key role in both drug production and transit. Morocco is among the main producers of cannabis resin in the world, while the entire region is increasingly used as a transit point for cocaine flowing from South America, as well as for heroin transiting from Asia.
  • Both migratory and drug flows in North Africa and the Mediterranean are complex and multifaceted phenomena. As such, this geographic area provides a rich environment in which to analyze a wide array of dynamics.



  1. Mapping the routes and flows of human smuggling and drug trafficking across space and time in North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea.
  2. Identifying and analyzing the causes and contingent factors relating to human smuggling and drug trafficking displacement and convergence within the historical, social, legislative, and geopolitical context.
  3. Producing actionable policy recommendations.



  • Civil society, which gains a better understanding of human smuggling and drug trafficking, their consequences, and the impact of policies designed to fight them.
  • Policy makers and regulators, because the Project’s findings can support the design and implementation of evidence-based policies to fight these crimes.
  • Transnational crimes experts, because the proposed research advances theoretical and operational knowledge on these topics.
  • Students, scholars, and researchers, who can learn about human smuggling and drug trafficking as well as the causes and consequences of the displacement and convergence of these crimes.
  • General public, who can benefit from the implementation of knowledge-driven actions aimed at limiting the negative effects of these transnational crimes, and who can access easy-to-approach contents on highly-debated crimes.





The research results of the Project will also be collected in a:

And promoted through a: