Photo of Dr Sean Columb

Dr Sean Columb BA, LLM, PhD

Reader in Transnational Criminal Law Law


    Personal Statement

    Seán Columb is a Reader in Law at the School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool. His research interests include human trafficking, extra-legal migration, and transnational crime. Seán's current research examines how the organ trade fits into the anti-trafficking framework, its link to organised crime and the wider political economy. He has published numerous articles on this topic in peer leading journals, including the British Journal of Criminology and Law and Society Review. In 2023, Seán was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Law in recognition of his contribution to the study of transnational crime, human rights, and socio-legal studies.

    His book Trading Life: Organ Trafficking, Illicit Networks, and Exploitation was published with Stanford University Press in July 2020. It was awarded the 2021 Hart-SLSA book prize for early career academics. Winner of the 2021 Best Book on Organised Crime Award, sponsored by The International Association for the Study of Organised Crime (IASOC). Winner of the European Society of Criminology (ESC) Book Prize 2022.

    Seán’s research is empirically driven and interdisciplinary, drawing on law, criminology and anthropology. His research on the organ trade has featured in the Guardian, Reuters, BBC, The Times, DW, Le Monde and De Morgen, amongst others.

    Seán was awarded Best Investigative News Article as part of the Anti-Slavery Media Awards in 2019 for his work with the Guardian . His book "Trading Life" formed the basis of a BBC Panorama documentary on the organ trade.

    Find a Supervisor

    I would be happy to hear from potential postgraduate research students about supervising projects in the following areas of transnational crime: human trafficking/modern slavery, environmental crime, drug trafficking, organ trade, wildlife trade, people smuggling. And more generally, novel topics related to transnational crime, illicit trade, human rights and criminal justice.