By Michel Moutot
Powerful international mafias are turning their sights more and more on expanding into ivory poaching, illegal fishing and other "green" crimes, police and experts say.
Because of poor monitoring, relatively low risks and the prospects of big money, the environment has become a safe target for crime gangs whose more traditional activities include crimes such as drug trafficking and extortion.
"The criminals that are engaged in this field are obviously very organized," said David Higgins, manager of Interpol's Environmental Crime Program, told AFP on the sidelines of the 79th Interpol General Assembly in Qatar.
Environment-related crime "crosses international borders and jurisdictions all the time," he said.
On Nov. 8, Interpol adopted a resolution unanimously pledging support to back the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and to fight environmental crime.
CITES secretary general John Scanlon said the resolution "sends a very strong message to those who seek to rob countries of their natural resources that the global law enforcement community recognizes that it must work together, led by Interpol, to bring these environmental criminals to justice."
According to Higgins, the resolution "shows how seriously the police community of the world takes environmental crime and we look forward to the ongoing support of our member countries in this area." More....