Illicit financial flows from migrant smuggling in Senegal and Sierra Leone

Tracing the IFFs of migrant smuggling is complex and challenging globally – even more so in West Africa’s large informal economy.

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Despite robust anti-money laundering and anti-migrant smuggling policies, this study finds that there are few money laundering investigations and charges against smugglers in Senegal and Sierra Leone. Those countries’ financial investigative agencies lack adequate resources and expertise to uncover the illicit proceeds of smugglers, which are often processed through cash and informal channels. This is compounded by a lack of reporting of suspicious transactions by entities vulnerable to money laundering, such as real estate companies.

This policy brief is based on a research report, Illicit financial flows from migrant smuggling: Trends and responses in West Africa.

About the authors

Dr Ndubuisi Christian Ani is a Senior Researcher and Project Coordinator at ENACT, Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in Abuja, Nigeria. Previously, he was a Senior Regional Advisor at the GIZ support project for the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana. Christian also has held research roles at the ISS in Ethiopia, and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) in South Africa. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa.

Jennifer Shahid is a Research Officer in the ENACT Programme at the ISS in Abuja, Nigeria. She holds an MSc in Political Economy and Development Studies from Nasarawa State University. She has over a decade of experience in research, project planning and management, with a strong interest in transnational organised crime in West Africa.

Development partners
This report is coordinated by GIZ and implemented by the Institute for Security Studies in partnership with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. It was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office under the OCWAR-T project. The ISS is also grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Union, the Open Society Foundations and the governments of Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
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