Personal profile


Nathan Paul Southern is a security analyst, investigative reporter and PhD Candidate at the University of St. Andrews. He has a bachelor’s in Criminology, a Law degree, a Masters in Global Security and an MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence.

He worked for NGO’s in Thailand and Bangladesh, combatting human trafficking and forced marriage in the field. He also worked in the Prosecution team at the United Nations Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia before becoming a journalist reporting throughout the world and as a consultant for various think tanks and political risk organisations. He has consulted for the Insitute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) where he was the Senior Asia researcher into a report on negotiating with armed non-state actors mediation. He has also consulted with the Brookings Institution on long form reports into synthetic drug production and wildlife trafficking. Southern has also co-lead many detailed investigations for the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime into the links between casinos and organised crime, the Cambodia's role in the illegal logging industry, the spread of cyber slavery and wildlife trafficking on the Mekong. 

Southern has written for Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, HuffPost, South China Morning Post, Syndey Morning Herald, the Southeast Asia Globe among others. He has briefed various government and diplomatic officials and international policing bodies and has acted as a security and organised crime expert for numerous television and documentary series including Vice World News, TRT and PBS

His research focus is on non-traditional security threats, the nexus between organised crime and state governance, the drug war, terrorism, climate security, maritime threats and the role of criminality and militancy along China's Belt and Road Initiative. 

His PhD research seeks to to develop new data on the nexus between organised crime and state level governance with a specific focus on Cambodia and China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Research overview

Nathan Paul Southern's research focusses on the relationship between organised crime syndicates and state government, the nexus between terrorism and organised crime, the drug war, maritime security, mediation between armed actors, climate security (including wildlife and timber trafficking) and China's Belt and Road Initiative. 

He has published several peer reviewed reports and regularly appears as a non traditional security specialist for various international television outlets and documentaries including Vice World News, TRT and PBS. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or