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Increasing capacities to target wildlife trafficking profits

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam), 17 April 2015 - The UNODC Global Programme on Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime trained 70 prosecutors in Viet Nam in an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) training programme last week. The course consisted of two seminars, one in Hanoi and another in Ho Chi Minh City, covering financial investigation techniques that can be used to counter wildlife and timber trafficking.

Effective responses to crime needs to address three main dimensions including, the illegal product in demand and the subsequent sale and profit from it. In the case of wildlife trafficking, the product can be rhino horns, the sale is the illegal trade conducted by low-level players, and the profit is revenue from the sale of rhino horn that leads to further facilitation of criminal networks.

"The goal of this training course is to help prosecutors target the profit of individuals controlling expanding trafficking operations." said Giovanni Broussard, programme coordinator from UNODC. "In Viet Nam and most of the countries in ASEAN, wildlife or timber trafficking are predicate offences for anti-money laundering investigations. Yet, the use of anti-money laundering techniques still remain low."

If properly investigated the three different aspects of the process, product, sale, and profit, will provide valuable information for law enforcement officials. This will allow in-depth investigations leading to the disruption of bigger criminal networks rather than prosecuting individual offenders. As of now, investigations regarding the illegal profits of criminal enterprises are rarely conducted.

This training programme was jointly organised with the Office of the Supreme People's Procuracy of Viet Nam with support from the US Department of State. Seminar trainers were national experts from the Viet Nam Financial Intelligence Units and from the Procuracy. International experts from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom were also present.

The UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime (GP) is a four-year programme linking regional efforts to a global framework, enhancing capacity-building and wildlife law enforcement networks at regional and sub-regional levels. The GP is working for and with the law enforcement community to ensure that wildlife crime, illegal logging, and related crimes are treated as serious transnational organized crimes.