The ICSA Foundation “Fighting Terrorism on the Tobacco Road” project examines the link between tobacco smuggling and the financing of terrorism, including jihadism. While the link has been posited by some researchers, an SWG survey shows that today 35% of Italians agree that «terrorism is also financed through cigarette smuggling» and 64% are resigned to the fact that «smuggling has always existed and always will»
The ICSA “Fighting Terrorism on the Tobacco Road” project will subject this intuition to rigorous verification by a multidisciplinary team comprising academics and practitioners. It will then disseminate results to institutions, media and public opinion aware of the possible connection between cigarette smuggling and terrorism.
The project is based on two premises. The first is that the attention devoted to large scale narcotics trafficking has come to the expense of smaller traffic; the second, that the low risk/high profit ratio of activities like cigarette smuggling makes them very attractive to both organized crime and terrorism.
The ICSA project team will work on the research hypothesis with social science methodologies and frameworks and produce its report on “Terrorism, Criminality and Cigarette Smuggling in Italy”, training seminars for Italian and European police and intelligence staffs, journalists’ continuing education seminars.
By exploring the direct and indirect link between illicit tobacco trade and related crimes (including drugs trafficking, human trafficking, refugee trafficking, arms trafficking, cultural heritage trafficking), the ICSA “Fighting Terrorism on the Tobacco Road” process aims to increase awareness in opinion leaders and various categories of subject matter experts.
“Fighting Terrorism on the Tobacco Road” is one of the 32 research projects financed by PMI IMPACT, a global initiative of Philip Morris International to support projects dedicated to fighting illegal trade and related crimes, in the initiative’s first funding round. The selection for funding was made by a council of independent experts in the fields of law, anti-corruption, and the fight against organized crime and illegal trade who reviewed and selected the projects from more than 200 applications submitted by private and public organizations from over 40 countries.