This is the launch event of the policy research “Zuwara’s Civil Society Fight against Organized Crime: Successes and failures of local community efforts”, co-published by the Migrant Network and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), thanks to the support of the GI-TOC Resilience Fund in helping produce the research. The civil society of the Libyan northwest city of Zuwara has led several efforts over the last years to tackle criminal governance with notable successes and failures. In 2014-2015, Zuwara’s CSOs took an impressive stand against human smuggling, providing assistance to migrants, raising awareness of the impact and dangers of smuggling, and leveraging elites to strengthen local taboos against human smuggling. Although community efforts continue to fight against criminal governance through awareness-raising and education campaigns via media, religious discourse and university campuses, the 2014-2015 momentum has been lost. Zuwara’s civil society has the means to reignite its stance against criminal governance. To do so, it needs more political recognition, more assistance from international stakeholders and better cooperation between local stakeholders with clearer boundaries between law enforcement and CSOs.