I hold a BA in Sociology and Criminology from Università di Bologna (Italy) and an MA in Applied Social Sciences from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy). I graduated with a PhD in Criminology at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in 2014.
I joined the University of Surrey in October 2017. Before joining the Department of Sociology, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (2014-2016), where I collaborated with Transcrime-Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime, and at the National University or Ireland, Maynooth (2016-2017), where I collaborated on the project 'CONTAGION': Counterterrorism, Coercion, and EU Criminal Justice Policy.
I sit on the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology and Trends in Organized Crime. At Surrey I'm a member of the Centre for Criminology, the Sex, Gender and Sexualities Research Group, and the Observatory for Human Rights and Major Events.
University roles and responsibilities
- Programme Director for BSc Criminology and Sociology
- Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching
My current research focuses on illicit and unregulated markets, and primarily on three areas: (i) drug markets; (ii) commercial sex markets; (iii) organised crime and illicit markets.
My research on drug markets, in collaboration with Dr Luca Giommoni (Cardiff University) and Dr Alberto Aziani (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), focuses on cross-country heroin and cocaine trafficking. The results were recently published in Deviant Behaviour and the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research.
I was part of a research project led by Cardiff University and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which assessed how new technologies are influencing transnational organised crime. The study explored whether and how dark web markets are changing transnational trafficking flows by analysing online dark web market data and traditional offline trafficking flows.
My research on commercial sex markets, in collaboration with Dr Luca Giommoni (Cardiff University) and Dr G.J. Melendez-Torres (University of Exeter) focuses on online communities of sex workers and their clients with the aim to understand the role of technology in commercial sex, the relationship between sex workers and their clients, and the risks associated with sex work.
In February 2022, I started a new research project funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust on Understanding risk in unregulated markets: the case of men who purchase sex. It explores how men who purchase sex in England and Wales understand and perceive the risks associated with buying sex, how past experiences and online interactions influence their perceptions of risk, and how changes in prostitution legislation may impact on their willingness to purchase sexual services and to report suspected cases of trafficking.
My research on organised crime and illicit markets aims to understand how criminal groups involved in international drug trafficking activities adapt as a consequence of law enforcement interventions. I recently published an article in Global Crime on the impact of the targeting of key players by law enforcement on the structure, communication strategies, and activities of a drug trafficking network. The raw anonymised data and R code are available on my GitHub page.
My wider research interests include: co-offending networks; social network analysis; counter-terrorism; organised crime; drug markets; commercial sex markets.
The project will explore how men who purchase sex in England and Wales understand and perceive the risks associated with buying sex, how past experiences and online interactions influence their perceptions of risk, and how changes in prostitution legislation may impact on their willingness to purchase sexual services and to report suspected cases of trafficking.
The project is funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grants scheme, and will start in February 2022.
The project, led by Cardiff University and funded by the (ESRC), investigated how new technologies are influencing transnational organised crime. Project leads are Professor Mike Levi, Dr Luca Giommoni, Professor Matthew Williams and Professor Pete Burnap from Cardiff University. Other contributors include Dr Giulia Berlusconi at University of Surrey, Dr Alberto Aziani at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Dr David Décary-Hétu at the University of Montreal.
The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It started in 2019 and has now ended.
Postgraduate research supervision
I welcome PhD applications on topics that deal with illicit and unregulated markets—particularly drug markets and commercial sex markets—and criminal networks. Other topics might also be of interest, in which case, please do get in touch with me.
I teach on both research methods modules and criminology modules for both undergraduate and master students.
- SOC1050 Measuring the Social World: Quantitative Methods;
- SOC1048 Explaining Crime and Deviance;
- SOCM008 Criminal Justice System.
- SOC1027 Quantitative Methods 1;
- SOC1036 Introduction to Criminological Theories;
- SOC1034 Crime and Society;
- SOCM058 Social Network Analysis;
- SOCM041 Principles of Survey Design.