A review of research in illicit supply-chain networks and new directions to thwart them

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Illicit trades have emerged as a significant problem to almost every government across the world. Their gradual expansion and diversification throughout the years suggests the existence of robust yet obscure supply chains as well as the inadequacy of current approaches to understand and disrupt them. In response, researchers have been trying hard to identify strategies that would succeed in controlling the proliferation of these trades. With the same motivation, this article conducts a comprehensive review of prior research in the field of illicit supply-chain networks. The review is primarily focused on the trade of physical products, ignoring virtual products and services. Our discussion includes analyses of their structure and operations, as well as procedures for their detection and disruption, especially from the perspective of operations research, management science, network science, and industrial engineering. We also address persisting challenges in this domain and offer future research directions to pursue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-158
Number of pages25
JournalIISE Transactions
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • disruption of illicit networks
  • future directions
  • Illicit trade
  • literature review
  • supply-chains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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