On 17 June 2021, the Wildlife Justice Commission hosted an online discussion: Crime convergence: intelligent approaches to organised crime. A panel of experts reflected on the recommendations of our latest report, examining the ways in which addressing crime convergence can offer strategic advantages in the fight against wildlife crime and other serious and organised crimes.
In recent decades, wildlife crime has grown in scope and profitability, increasingly converging with other forms of organised crime. On 17 June 2021, the Wildlife Justice Commission hosted an expert discussion on this issue, examining how addressing crime convergence can be advantageous in identifying strategic policy and law enforcement responses to help fight wildlife crime and organised crime more broadly.
In our latest report, Convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime, we laid out 12 case studies to illustrate patterns of crime convergence and their typologies. It is important to recognise such patterns in our work for justice; they can lead to investigative opportunities that maximise law enforcement efforts and disrupt the criminal networks involved in wildlife crime. A greater understanding of crime convergence will help ensure the adequate allocation of resources to tackle wildlife crime and the other forms of serious and organised crime it converges with.
Building a shared knowledge base on crime convergence
To foster this knowledge base, the Wildlife Justice Commission organised an online discussion with a panel of experts to examine the recommendations of our report and the impact such integrated approaches may have on their work to fight crime. Crime convergence: intelligent approaches to organised crime is the second such event we have organised in relation to crime convergence. In October 2020, we jointly organised a side event with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on this topic at the Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
During the webinar, Sarah Stoner, Director of Intelligence at the Wildlife Justice Commission, presented our report’s key findings and recommendations, a few of which are highlighted here:
- Multi-agency cooperation, joint investigations and task forces should be utilised where appropriate to bring the necessary law enforcement expertise to target convergence and explore all angles of the criminal scenario.
- Consideration should be given to using alternative legislation relating to the convergent or ancillary offences where relevant and appropriate.
- Financial and corruption investigations should be conducted in parallel or in response to wildlife crime cases to identify any associated money laundering or corruption offences, payment methods, and to identify the proceeds of crime to facilitate asset recovery.
- Greater utilisation of specialised investigative techniques such as communications interception, undercover operations, the use of listening and tracking devices, and controlled deliveries to gain a better understanding of where crime convergence may exist.
“This report illustrates that crime convergence is not limited to any geographical area or commodity type therefore convergence should be further studied and integrated in the approach to address wildlife crime and organised crime more broadly.”
Sarah Stoner, Director of Intelligence, Wildlife Justice Commission
Expert discussion on real-world impacts of crime convergence
After establishing a shared understanding of crime convergence involving wildlife crime, the Wildlife Justice Commission’s Executive Director, Olivia Swaak-Goldman, then moderated a lively reflection and discussion session with our panel of esteemed experts:
- José Antonio Alfaro Moreno – Europol, Team Leader, European Serious and Organised Crime Centre
- Edgardo Buscaglia – Columbia University, Senior Research Scholar in Law and Economics
- Amanda Gore– Centre for Global Advancement, Founder and CEO
- Johan Kruger– UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Head of Transnational Organised Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes for Eastern Africa
- Javier Montano – UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Coordinator Container Control Programme and Wildlife and Forest Crime Programme Eastern Africa
- Sergio Yépez Cordero – INTERPOL, Criminal Intelligence Officer, Environmental Security
Over the course of the event, our panel members offered valuable insights from a variety of vantage points:
Crime convergence can create strategic opportunities in the fight for wildlife justice
To close out the discussion, Swaak-Goldman observed that “this conversation has further highlighted the urgency with which a holistic, intelligence-driven approach towards crime convergence and wildlife crime must be adopted by the global community. It has also fleshed out the investigative opportunities offered by a greater understanding of crime convergence.”
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all our panel members and webinar participants. Thank you for your time, knowledge, and interest in the fight for wildlife justice.
Missed the webinar on Crime Convergence?