Environmental crimes are by their very nature a transnational issue. The threat of species extinction for instance is not confined to a single country. However, the protection of the environment often comes against the global development process or increased standards of living worldwide (Michalowski & Bitten 2005, p.156-157). Environmental crimes are often considered less serious offences than other types of transnational crimes, particularly drug, arms or human trafficking. Elliott (2007) argues that transnational environmental crimes are undersecuritized, meaning that they are not considered as serious security threat by law-enforcing agencies. Michalowski & Bitten (2005, p.136-159) highlights the ambiguity in the nature of the crimes as only a small portion is subjected to legal control and as environmental issues are embedded in a complex web of social, economical and political interests (2005, p.149).
[...] Excluding poaching practices conducted for personal consumption or use, most wildlife traffics involve chain, from capture or harvest of wildlife, to transporting, and on to marketing to consumers in final destination.” (Cook et al p17). A trade like abalone may also involve intermediaries that process the product, usually in the country of origins (see Tailby & Grant 2002 for a study of the Australian case). Wildlife trafficking needs to be defined according to the traded commodities, as many differences exist according to the sectors. [...]
[...] The main legal instrument in the fight against wildlife trafficking is the 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. This agreement acknowledges the transnational nature of this illegal trade, and provides a legal framework for the protection of wildlife and plants. However, the implementation of those regulations is made at the national level, and it can be argued that this legal framework is quite weak, even “incoherent” (Elliott 2007, p.515). This weakness is obvious at the national level, where wildlife smugglers face low risks of detention. [...]
[...] Caviar trafficking is an interesting case study in the sense that it is apparently one of the most organized wildlife traffic (United Nations Economic and Social Council 2003, p.11; Cook et al p.10). Caviar, or sturgeon roe, is a highly profitable niche that has been easily taken over by organized criminal groups, often Russian or Eastern Europeans. The collapse of the Soviet Union played a significant part in the increase of transnational crime in the region, as they used the spread of transnational economic activities as a “comfortable and discreet working environment” (Stanislawski 2004, p.156). [...]
[...] Bibliography Bazilchuk, N 2006, “Border control: Wildlife Interpol cracks down on organized crime”, Conservation in Practice, April-June, Vol pp. 38- 39. Begley, S 2008, “Extinction trade: Endangered animals are the new blood diamonds as militias and warlords use poaching to fund death”, Newsweek March, pp 46. Cook D & Roberts M & Lowther J June 2002, The international wildlife trade and organised crime. A review of the evidence and the role of the UK, Regional Research Institute, University of Wolverhampton, WWF-UK. [...]
[...] Cook et al summarizes the links between illegal wildlife trade and drug trafficking as follows: Use of legal shipment of wildlife to conceal drugs”, which is especially used in the narco-states where the biodiversity is important, like certain South American states. of venomous snakes by criminals to guard or to conceal drug caches and consignments” “Parallel trafficking of drugs and wildlife along shared smuggling routes” “Wildlife products used as currency to barter for drugs, and to launder drug traffic money”. [...]
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