Welcome to the UNSW Criminal Networks Research Group

The UNSW Criminal Networks Research Group is a multidisciplinary group of scholars connected by research interests in criminal networks, organised crime, and trafficking in illicit commodities.

Criminal networks involved in terrorist activities and in illicit commodities markets (e.g., drugs, arms, people) contribute to significant harms in the Australian and international communities. The illicit drug trade has been estimated globally at $US320 billion (UNODC, 2005).  In financial terms, the industry is larger than human trafficking ($US32 billion; Belser, 2005) and firearms ($US1 billion; Small Arms Survey 2002). The wholesale value of the global illicit drugs market is more than double the global export revenue of all cereal exports together (UNODC, 2005).  Terrorist attacks since 2000, have killed over 200 Australian civilians, and Australian embassies have been specifically by terrorist groups (Harris-Hogan, 2012).  According to the Counter-Terrorism White Paper, released in 2010, “[t]he threat of terrorism to Australia is real and enduring. It has become a persistent and permanent feature of Australia’s security environment.” (p. ii; Commonwealth of Australia, 2010).

Members of the Criminal Networks Research Group are drawn from diverse disciplines and Schools within the University of New South Wales including: the School of Social Sciences, the School of Mathematics and Statistics, the Drug Policy Modelling Program, and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.  We also have collaborators from Australian and international Universities including Monash University, the University of Montreal, California State University and Massey University (New Zealand).



Special issue on illicit networks  in Global Crime.