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Workshop on "Asset recovery in the face of illicit drug trafficking" in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador

Panama, July 29, 2021. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean (UNODC ROPAN), through the CRIMJUST project held the workshop "Asset Recovery in the face of illicit drug trafficking", in which 45 prosecutors from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador participated.

The opening event was attended by UNODC Regional Representative for Central America and the Caribbean José Vila del Castillo who noted "Latin America, home to the three largest cocaine producers in the world, is particularly vulnerable to illicit financial flows that threaten and undermine its state institutions and erode legitimate trade".

"Now more than ever, it is urgent that we strengthen coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors within and between countries, and that we develop enhanced international cooperation mechanisms for asset recovery," the Representative remarked.

He concluded by noting that "this training aims to provide the tools and strengthen the investigative, cooperative and confiscation skills of criminal justice practitioners in routine transnational organized crime cases".

Ms. Sonia Vega-Alonso, Chargé d'Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union in Honduras, stated that "Europol has renewed its Organized and Serious Organized Crime Threat Assessment of the European Union and has uncovered a worrying infiltration of organized crime into the legal economy."

"The identification, seizure and recovery of the proceeds of crime involve unique challenges and skills that require criminal justice officials to not only have an excellent command of their national legislation, but also to understand the legal framework of other countries, be aware of international law and regulations, and understand regional socio-political dynamics vulnerable to organized crime," the diplomat explained.

"The regional scope of this training is an attempt to address the challenges faced by countries by strengthening cooperation in criminal justice," she concluded.

This workshop will take place from July 26-29 thanks to the financial support of the European Union.

The CRIMJUST project supports 12 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa in their fight against organized crime along cocaine trafficking routes. It focuses primarily on criminal investigations and criminal justice cooperation through:

- Capacity building

- Interregional cooperation

- Institutional integrity.

This project is funded by the European Union's Cocaine Route program. INTERPOL is in charge of its implementation in partnership with UNODC and Transparency International.