An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia

An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia:
The Illegal Trade in Arms, Drugs, People, Counterfeit Goods and Natural Resources
in Mainland Southeast Asia

Edited by Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy.
With articles by David Capie, Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy, Vanda Felbab-Brown, David Feingold, Bertil Lintner. Maps (32) by Geneviève Decroix (GeoAtlas base maps).

April 2013, I.B. Tauris, London, 256 pages (ISBN: 9781848858152).


Mainland Southeast Asia is one of the world’s key regions for the smuggling and trafficking of illegal goods. Armed conflict in the region has spurred an international trade in small arms, and organized nuclear smuggling rings are now believed to operate as well.

Human trafficking is widespread, with children being especially vulnerable either for slave labour or sexual exploitation. The region is being flooded with contraband and counterfeit goods such as pirated movies, designer label clothes and currency, especially US dollars, whilst antiques, oil and medicinal drugs – counterfeit as well as authentic ones – are also being smuggled.

While such activity has been drawing increased attention, the scope, nature and mechanisms of smuggling and trafficking across the region are far from understood. Even less is known about the various synergies that may exist between the different trafficking activities. An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia brings together a team of key researchers and cartographic specialists to provide a unique overview of the major forms of illegal trafficking in the region.

The contributors have been drawn from a range of disciplines, reflecting the complex reality of this diverse and thriving illegal economy. Geographer Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy provides a history of the drug trafficking routes in and out of the Golden Triangle, whose opium and heroin networks have played such a significant role in both the regional and global history. Anthropologist David Feingold focuses on human smuggling and trafficking, a highly complex trade with many causes and consequences, whilst political scientist David Capie examines the illegal trade in small arms. There has been impressive rhetoric about the need to tackle the illicit arms trade but much less in the way of practical action. Southeast Asia has the highest rate of deforestation of any major tropical region, whilst wildlife is currently being extracted at six times the sustainable rate. Vanda Felbab-Brown, also a political scientist, examines the key interrelated topics of illegal logging and wildlife trafficking. Finally, journalist Bertil Lintner surveys the trade in counterfeit goods and contraband, two thriving activities in mainland Southeast Asia.

Accompanying the text is a unique series of 32 full-colour maps. These maps have been especially drawn for the atlas and detail the trafficking hubs, counter-trafficking facilities and border status for each of the trafficking activities. Political, historical, topographic, ecological and linguistic regional maps are also included.

An Atlas of Trafficking in Southeast Asia sheds valuable light on the complex and shadowy world of one of the key regions for illegal trading. An unparalleled reference resource, it will be welcomed by professionals and academics across a wide range of disciplines.

Table of contents

List of Maps vii

Note on Contributors ix

1 Introduction: Illegal Trades Across National Borders 1

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy

2 Drug trafficking in and out of the Golden Triangle 29

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy

3 Trafficking, Trade and Migration: Mapping Human Trafficking in the Mekong Region 53

David A. Feingold

4 Arms Trafficking in Mainland Southeast Asia 89

David Capie

5 The Jagged Edge: Illegal Logging in Southeast Asia 113

Vanda Felbab-Brown

6 The Illegal Trade in Wildlife in Southeast Asia and Its Links to East Asian Markets 137

Vanda Felbab-Brown

7 The Trade in Counterfeit Goods and Contraband in Mainland Southeast Asia 155

Bertil Lintner

Notes 175

Index 207

About the author

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy

Dr. Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the Sorbonne University (Paris) and an HDR (Habilitation à diriger des recherches or "accreditation to supervise research"). He is a CNRS Research Fellow attached to the PRODIG research team (UMR 8586).

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy est docteur en géographie, habilité à diriger des recherches (HDR), et chargé de recherche au CNRS. Il est membre de l'équipe PRODIG (UMR 8586).