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CAP's Mission

The Conflict Awareness Project (CAP) is an international non-profit dedicated to investigating, documenting, and bringing to justice major arms traffickers, war profiteering networks, and transnational criminal operations that fuel war, conflict, and natural resource exploitation around the globe.

Support our daily work and help bring major arms traffickers to justice, save lives, and help build a more just and peaceful world.


Our comprehensive report delves into the pressing issue of gun trafficking between the United States and Mexico and proposes strategies for combating the transnational organized crime it brings.


The release of the iconic gunrunner Viktor Bout from prison requires stronger measures to thwart the operations of global arms traffickers from Ukraine to Mexico and beyond. 


AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File

FILE – In this May 19, 2009 file photo, alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, once dubbed the “Merchant of Death,” looks out from inside a detention center at a criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand.

Bout’s release threatens global security; it’s also an opportunity



His release provides an opportunity to redouble our efforts to contain this one-man weapon of mass destruction and to counter arms trafficking wherever it is occurring. If we miss this chance, we could all pay a price — as gunrunners continue making a killing in their operations of mass murder.

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Forest Elephant Mission: A Rebalance Earth Partnership Project

The poaching of elephants in Africa has a ripple effect that reaches around the world and impacts you and me. When forest elephants are killed for their ivory, the old growth forests that they garden lose much of the biodiversity upon which human life depends, along with the forest’s full capacity to protect us from climate change. 


After Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukrainians have been using whatever weapons they can find to defend their homeland.How has the conflict affected the smuggling of weapons? And how will it continue to do so in the future?


Find out more as Thin Lei Win talks to Mark Galeotti, Kathi Lynn Austin and Viatcheslav Avioutskii.

Copyright 2022 Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime


How Ukraine Intends to Control Arms Smuggling

Von Matthias Gebauer und Fritz Schaap

July 19, 2022

"Even before the war, Ukraine was a hub for arms and people smugglers, and they don't just stop because there's a war," says arms smuggling expert Kathi Lynn Austin.

Read the Article Here

Weapons captured by the Russians: Geharh of the world sale  |  Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky / EPA


The explosives factory that was meant to receive the Rhosus’ cargo also shares an address with ExploAfrica, a company co-owned by the Vieira family. Confidential corporate and government documents shared by the Conflict Awareness Project, a U.S.-based nonprofit, show that ExploAfrica and its affiliates were investigated by South African and Portuguese authorities for obtaining U.S. and Czech weapons that later ended up in the hands of rhino and elephant poachers in South Africa’s Kruger National Parks on the border with Mozambique.


Read the Article Here

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2019: Follow The Guns: An Overlooked Key To Combat Rhino Poaching and Wildlife Crime

A CAP Report by Kathi Lynn Austin


Four-year, six-country investigation implicates gunrunners and corrupt officials driving rhinos to the brink of extinction.

Download the Report


Follow The Guns

On Sunday, June 24, 2018, Carte Blanche, a premiere African current affairs program, aired Follow The Guns, co-produced by CAP's Executive Director Kathi Lynn Austin. In the TV documentary, arms trafficking investigator Kathi Lynn Austin races against time to expose the suppliers and manufacturers of guns and bullets recovered at rhino poaching crime scenes.

Read More on Follow The Guns


How to hunt down the world’s most dangerous arms dealers

Kathi Lynn Austin talks to Sarmishta Subramanian about the front line of the illicit weapons trade, where she fraternized with those who run it while gathering evidence to thwart their enterprise.

by Sarmishta Subramanian

Jan 15, 2020

Read the Interview Here


The woman who hunts illegal arms dealers: The Power of One, episode 3

Kathi Lynn Austin has targeted, investigated and helped to bring down some of the world’s most dangerous arms dealers—in some cases meeting them face-to-face.

by Macleans

Nov 22, 2019


Listen to the Podcast Here



How Did Rifles With an American Stamp End Up in the Hands of African Poachers?


The question is at the heart of investigations by Congress and federal agencies into whether an American gun manufacturer is entangled in the shadowy world of arms smuggling and wildlife poaching.

Read the Article

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Four-year probe cracks rhino-poaching gun racket


A gun manufacturer in the Czech Republic is implicated in flooding Africa with thousands of high-calibre hunting hunting rifles. Now poachers are even more deadly.


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The Pillage of Eastern Congo Gold:

A Case for the Prosecution of Corporate War Crimes

A CAP Briefing Report by Kathi Lynn Austin

Results of Ms. Austin's nine-year international investigation of an unlawful conflict gold enterprise originating in the eastern DRC. Foreign companies have taken advantage of armed conflict to make millions of dollars in illegal profit, while incentivizing war and widespread atrocities.

Download the Report


She Hunted History’s Worst Arms Dealers. Now She’s Taking on Rhino Poachers.

Kathi Lynn Austin is on a global chase to stop the flow of guns threatening to wipe the rhinoceros off the face of the Earth.






Read the Narratively Story

Doc Film Follows the International Trail of "Dirty Gold"


Follow CAP ED Kathi Lynn Austin as she visits gold mines in DRC, collects evidence from smugglers in Uganda, and works to bring a legal case against Swiss processors and other parties.

Watch the free trailer or see the complete doc for a small fee, and support this important work.

Watch the Film

"A Short Film About Guns" Wins

Best Short at Tribeca

Directed by Minos Papas, the film features CAP founder Kathi Lynn Austin, former child soldier Ishmael Beah, war photographer Paul Conroy, and Rear Admiral (ret.) Stuart Platt, who recount their experiences with the black market trade in areas of conflict and how the unlawful flow of weapons across the globe facilitates loss of life and devastation.

View 2013 TFF Winners

UK Authorities Called to Act on “Blood Gold” Case Following Ruling

February 5, 2014 – A key ruling by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court gave momentum to a war crimes case against Swiss refining giant, Argor-Heraeus SA, alleged to have laundered millions of dollars of looted gold from the DRC. The three NGOs behind the case, call on the UK and Jersey Channel Island authorities to  swiftly investigate the two British firms that were the primary traders of the gold at issue.

Download the Media Release

UN and Control Arms Fete Passage of Landmark Arms Trade Treaty

CAP ED Kathi Lynn Austin was honored to be selected by Control Arms for inclusion in their 50 Celebrating 50 initiative, featuring photos and quotes from 50 political leaders, survivors, and campaigners who have worked to make the ATT a reality. The exhibit was displayed at UN headquarters in New York in Fall 2014, and is currently available for viewing online.

See the Exhibit

NY Times OP-ED: Stopping the

Trade in Death

CAP ED Kathi Lynn Austin discusses her role in helping put notorious international gun trafficker Viktor Bout behind bars, as well as the state of arms trafficking.

Read the Op-Ed 

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INTERVIEW: Intl Weapons Trafficking Ring Exposed in Mauritius

CAP ED Kathi Lynn Austin speaks about an international gunrunning operation, centered in Mauritius, which was found to covertly transport weapons and ammunition into UN-sanctioned conflict zones. Austin discusses CAP’s investigation into this gunrunning ring, as well as the steps the government of Mauritius took to disrupt traffickers’ operations, launch its own investigation, and cooperate with other countries to prevent dealers from setting up elsewhere.

Listen to the Interview

INTERVIEW: Bongani Bingwa speaks to Kathi Lynn Austin, Executive Director of Conflict Awareness and Arms Trafficking investigator

Not much is known about small arms trafficking, a global industry worth billions of dollars that feeds into many criminal syndicates. One woman has been tracking the dangerous network of illegal weapons for over 20 years … and her recent three-year investigation has revealed a huge network of illegal firearms that supply poachers with guns in the Kruger.

Published Jun 25, 2018 2:30 AM

Listen to the Interview

REPORT: Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting the Pillage of Natural Resources

Professor and CAP Board Member Emeritus James Stewart's guide provides a blueprint for prosecutors, advocates and others who wish to revive the prosecution of the war crime of pillage and hold accountable companies that illegally trade in conflict commodities.

Read the Report



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