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International environmental wildlife and pollution crimes are attracting growing attention from INTERPOL, partly because many of them are committed by organized crime. For example, in response to the recent surge of ivory tracking, INTERPOL formed a  dedicated environmental crime team in Africa.

As InterPOL puts it:

“Environmental crime is a serious and growing international problem, and one which takes many different forms.

Broadly speaking, wildlife crime is the illegal exploitation of the world’s wild flora and fauna, while pollution crime is the trading and disposal of hazardous wastes or resources in contravention of national and international laws.

In addition to these clear and present crimes, new types of environmental crime are emerging, such as carbon trade and water management crime.”

Organized criminal networks

Environmental crime is not restricted by borders, and can affect a nation’s economy, security and even its existence.

A significant proportion of both wildlife and pollution crime is carried out by organized criminal networks, drawn by the low risk and high profit nature of these types of crime.

The same routes used to smuggle wildlife across countries and continents are often used to smuggle weapons, drugs and people. Indeed, environmental crime often occurs hand in hand with other offences such as passport fraud, corruption, money laundering and murder.”

INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Sub-Directorate works closely with Environment Canada’s Intelligence Office. Good to know.

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