Law enforcement officers from Lao PDR and Thailand recently participated in a training course in order to improve their ability to fight against wildlife crime. There were twenty-six participants in total, including customs, police, and wildlife officers, as well as prosecutors.
Wildlife trafficking between Thailand and Lao PDR is renowned as a major route for the smuggling of wild animals and wildlife products. Via these countries, illegal animals and products are transported to China and Vietnam, and as far as Africa. Here, criminals take advantage of weak laws and understaffed law enforcement. The training course was designed to improve enforcement collaboration between Thailand and Lao PDR in an attempt to reduce global wildlife crime. The US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs co-funded the course along with the Blue Moon Fund.
Bangkok-based counter-trafficking organisation Freeland implemented the training as part of Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Trafficking (ARREST) program, which is run by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). ARREST is the US Government’s largest counter wildlife trafficking program that fights trafficking in Asia by reducing consumer demand, strengthening law enforcement, and enhancing regional cooperation.