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Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development
Bringing sustainability science forward

Illicit Trade

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Illicit Trade is a growing threat to our digitally-driven society. Globalization, the use of high-tech communication and the emergence of a global market have created a vast range of opportunities for illicit activities that portray serious implications for the well being of states, individuals and communities alike.

The Illicit Trade Group conducts research to investigate the causes, challenges and solutions to illicit trade practices and organize activities to enhance knowledge about the dark side of globalization.

Interdisciplinary research environment

The Illicit Trade Group (ITG) is an interdisciplinary research environment formed by a group of students, researchers, professors and experts working at the University of Groningen.

The goal of ITG is to create a university-wide debate on topics related to illicit trade, by creating the conditions for academic cross-fertilization in a research area that is fundamentally interdisciplinary. ITG’s intention is to foster a discussion on the causes, consequences and solutions to the challenges posed by illicit trade. We aim to contribute to government capacity-building to counter illicit trade practices and to increase societal resilience to it. 

Why we use 'illicit' instead of 'illegal'
'Illicit' and 'illegal' are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. "Illegal" refers specifically to something that is against the law or prohibited by law. It denotes actions or behaviors that are forbidden by a legal authority and may result in punishment if caught or prosecuted.

'Illicit,' on the other hand, has a broader connotation. It refers to something that is not permitted or is frowned upon by social, moral, or ethical standards, in addition to being against the law. While illicit activities are often illegal, they can also include actions that are not necessarily prohibited by law but are considered morally or socially unacceptable.

In summary, while both terms imply wrongdoing, 'illegal' strictly refers to actions that violate laws, whereas 'illicit' encompasses a wider range of activities that may also go against social or ethical norms.

Research Topics 

More information

For more information, please contact: Prof. Pim Geelhoed

Last modified:18 April 2024 2.59 p.m.
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