A woman with red-brown hair looks stoically into the camera.

Kathi Lynn Austin

Research Fellow


Kathi Lynn Austin is a Research Fellow with the Human Rights Center. She is a former United Nations arms trafficking expert and current founder and executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project, a non-governmental organization dedicated to investigating, documenting and bringing to justice major arms traffickers, war profiteering networks, and transnational criminal operations that fuel conflict, human rights abuses, pillage and environmental crime around the world. She is internationally recognized for her work on sanctions-busting, illicit supply chains and exposing the most notorious merchants of death, including Viktor Bout—a Russian now serving prison time on terrorism charges in the U.S. With over 30 years of experience, Ms. Austin has carried out precedent-setting field investigations spanning Africa, Latin America, East and Central Europe and South Asia. Her work has been featured on major media worldwide, including the New York Times, CNN, NPR, BBC, and Al Jazeera and in films such as “Dirty Gold” (2014)  and a “Short Film About Guns” (Tribeca Film Winner 2013).  Her own award-winning documentaries include: “Follow The Guns” (2018); “Killing Tradition: The Arming of Africa” (2002); “Forsaken Cries: The Story of Rwanda” (1997); and “Africa: Environmental Degradation, Human Deprivation” (1994). A sample of briefing reports include: “Follow The Guns: An Overlooked Key To Combat Rhino Poaching and Wildlife Crime” (2019); “The Pillage of Eastern Congo Gold: A Case for the Prosecution of Corporate War Crimes” (2013); and “Viktor Bout’s Gunrunning Successors: A Lethal Game of Catch Me If You Can” (2012). In 2011, Austin was named Arms Control Association’s “Person of the Year.”