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UNODC and the United Kingdom Collaborate in the Fight against Illicit Trade in Panama

Panama, 26 February 2016 -  With the financial support of the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Panama, and under the substantive coordination of UNODC ROPAN, a group of high level officials specialized in policies and techniques against illicit trade will attend an important seminar aimed at providing participants with tools and information to effectively address the challenges posed by this crime. The event will also gathered representatives from Customs, Ports, the Directorate for Judicial Investigations of the National Police and the private sector, among others.

The seminar offer a space to explore the various different dimensions of illicit trade, taking into account its impact on economies, societies and individuals. Participants will also have the opportunity to exchange experiences with experts from the Commission against Illicit Trade of the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce, as well as with experts from the United Kingdom and UNODC, on a range of topics that go from the weaknesses of existing legal systems to the development and implementation of policies and procedures to efficiently combatting smuggling.

Her Majesty's Ambassador to the republic of Panama, Dr. Ian Collard, highlighted the importance of this initiative, recognizing the need to jointly face this challenge. " We are very pleased to facilitate this event, which addresses such an important issue, not only for the United Kingdom but also for Panama. The problem of illicit trade is a transnational phenomenon that affects trading regimes, but also other sectors such as health, while contributing to delinquency and insecurity. It affects everyone - Governments lost millions in taxes every year, that could be invested in infrastructure projects, education, health and reduction in poverty. This is why we must find joint solution to fight against this crime."

Mr. Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative for Central America and the Caribbean, expressed satisfaction for the continued cooperation established with the United Kingdom and the Panamanian Customs, with the objective of developing joint efforts to fight against organized crime. "Transnational Organized Crime normally evokes violent actions due to its frequent relation to drug trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism. However, there are other criminal figures that imply lower levels of violence, while creating enormous economic benefits and minimizing the risk of being caught". In this regard, reference was made to forms of organized crime such as wildlife crime and trafficking of counterfeit goods, including medicines and beauty products that can jeopardize the health of users.