Wildlife crime is believed to intersect with other transnational organised crimes such as drugs, arms and human trafficking. Panel members at the online event that NGO Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) co-hosted with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 16 October 2020 reflected on this topic, and their briefing paper illustrates how intelligence analysis can lead to a greater understanding of such crime convergence. WJC partnered with UNODC to host an online panel discussion, Wildlife Crime: The soft underbelly of organised crime.
An official side event at the Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC), panellists examined how the cross-cutting nature of wildlife crime can present multiple entry points for law enforcement engaged against organised crime.
The event was moderated by Jorge Ríos, Chief of Global Programme Wildlife and Forest Crimes at UNODC and presented by Olivia Swaak-Goldman, Executive Director at the Wildlife Justice Commission. During her presentation, Swaak-Goldman remarked on the work undertaken by the organisation’s Intelligence Development Unit: “One of the unique features of the Wildlife Justice Commission is its excellent Intelligence Unit. It produces a broad intelligence picture that spans borders and cooperates with multiple law enforcement agencies. This puts us in an ideal position to discuss the opportunities this convergence presents with practitioners from other fields of law enforcement.”
During the discussion, Sarah Stoner, Director of Intelligence at the Wildlife Justice Commission, introduced the briefing paper published by the organisation and stressed that “the cross-cutting nature of wildlife crime identified through intelligence analysis can present potential opportunities to infiltrate networks that may be engaging in multiple forms of organised crime.” Jan Čapek, from the Czech Environmental Inspectorate, shared several cases of crime convergence involving wildlife that Customs encounters.
Wildlife Justice Commission published a briefing paper on the opportunities presented by this crime convergence. The paper presents a case study on crime convergence and concludes that for law enforcement to utilise such confluence to their advantage, intelligence analysis is vital and requires better resourcing. Furthermore, the value of intelligence diminishes when it is neither actioned nor shared, therefore the sharing and dissemination of intelligence products is paramount.
This briefing paper aims at contributing to inform law enforcement with different mandates and investigative powers to strengthen their alignment of resources, leading to transnational, organised crime being tackled in a more coordinated and complementary manner.