Technology & Trade

Beyond the ‘Merchants of Death’: The Mechanics of Arms Trafficking from the United States

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

The rise and dramatic fall of Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout cast a spotlight on the involvement of international arms brokers in armed conflict and human rights abuses. But Bout and the other “merchants of death” are not the only sources of illicit weapons. In many regions of the world, international arms brokers play little or no role in the illicit arms trade, which is less flashy, less centralized, and even more difficult to stop. The panel explored the mechanics of this side of the illicit arms trade through an in-depth look at small arms trafficking from the United States.

The panelists provided an overview of the modes of transport, methods of concealment, and smuggling techniques used by U.S.-based arms traffickers, and the challenges confronting the policy-makers and practitioners who are attempting to stop this trade.

WHAT: A discussion on the mechanics of contemporary small arms trafficking.
WHERE: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave NW, 8th Floor, Washington D.C., 20036
WHEN: Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Ruediger Bohn (introductory remarks), Minister-Counsellor, German Embassy
Matt Schroeder, Senior Researcher, Small Arms Survey
Christopher Tafe, Special Agent, Homeland Security Investigations
Rachel Stohl (moderator), Senior Associate, Stimson Center

Note: Special Agent Christopher Tafe’s remarks may not be used without permission from the Department of Homeland Security. For approval please contact for Jennifer D. Elzea, Deputy Press Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by phone at 202-732-4213 or by email at [email protected].

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