28 Jul 2023
Global Organized Crime Index, APA-Obs
Head of Pacific Programme, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime
As of January 2023 Virginia is responsible for GI-TOC’s new portfolio in the Pacific (Oceania) which consists of research and analytical outputs (including as part of the Global Organized Crime Index), as well as on-the-ground engagement with local and international stakeholders. A key focus of this work is the mapping of foreign criminal actors active in Pacific island countries.
She had joined the GI-TOC in 2020, initially as the Research Manager for the ‘Anticipating and Disrupting Environmental Crime in the Globalized Economy’ programme, conducting, commissioning and managing original research on environmental crime and illicit financial flows relating to environmental commodities in Africa and Asia. She was then appointed Senior Expert within the Asia Pacific Observatory conducting research on, among others, child sexual exploitation and abuse in Mekong countries, and spearheading GI-TOC’s expansion into the South Pacific.
Prior to GI-TOC, she had spent 14 years with The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, most recently as head of the Conflict, Security and Development programme. During her time there she has worked on organized crime, violent extremism, conflict, insurgency and how these phenomena intersect. She maintained a special focus on West Africa and the Sahel and, to a lesser extent, Latin America and parts of South Asia– all regions in which she conducted field research.
Additional experience includes a secondment to the UK Ministry of Justice and working for the intelligence unit of a private security firm and with a strategic intelligence company. She is also a former Special Police Constable.
Virginia sits on the advisory board of Independent Conflict Research & Analysis (ICRA), she is a steering committee member of the charity Football for Peace, and is a Participant of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS).
Virginia has spoken at conferences internationally and briefed senior politicians and corporate clients as well as law enforcement, military and academic audiences, and the media. She holds a First Class Honours degree in War Studies and American Studies from the University of Wolverhampton (UK) and a Master’s degree in Intelligence and Strategic Studies from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (UK).
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