Illicit Arms Flows

We monitor global arms sales and conducts research into how corruption in fragile states can lead to weapons diversion and, consequently, facilitate illicit arms flows.

Corruption in international arms deals can cause governments to purchase unnecessary equipment, wasting public funds and limiting the ability of militaries to function effectively. This is particularly dangerous in fragile and conflict affected states, where poor management of national stockpiles, re-transfer of weapons and simple theft can fuel a cycle of illicit arms flows. Meanwhile, vulnerabilities in arms export processes can also be exploited by the corrupt. The diversion of weapons to, from and within conflict zones – including to non-state actors – risks exacerbating conflict, reinforcing a downward cycle of poverty and instability.

Through this research, we seek to develop our understanding of the relationship between arms exports, corruption and illicit arms flows in order to support governments, industry and civil society to tackle this issue. The right interventions can have profound impact on stemming the flow of weapons and the devastating effects they can have in conflicts around the globe.