#Europol cracks down on illegal trafficking of endangered animal and plant species


EU Reporter

Date Published

Europol Director Rob Wainwright met with Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC (pictured), at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague on 2 February to discuss further co-operation in fighting environmental crime, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties in 2016.

The scope of the MoU is to facilitate the exchange of information and support, as well as to improve co-ordination between the two organisations to fight environmental crime, particularly the illegal trafficking of endangered animal and plant species.

Europol Director Rob Wainwright highlighted: “Europol is pleased to extend its partnerships in this area as a means by which to help protect the environment and our economies. Countering environmental crime also supports broader efforts to combat other crimes such as corruption, money laundering, counterfeiting, fraud, forgery, and sometimes even terrorism or drugs trafficking.”

Executive Director of TRAFFIC Steven Broad said: “Wildlife trafficking is a global issue that must be addressed through international collaborations: TRAFFIC looks forward to supporting Europol to fulfil its challenging role in addressing wildlife crime through providing strategic assessments and operational support to member states.”

Environmental crimes represent a highly lucrative business, especially for organized crime groups, as these offences are harder to detect and sanctions are lower in comparison with other crime areas. The transnational nature of environmental crimes has led to the need for enhanced cooperation between law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations, making strategic agreements crucial in the fight against the trafficking of endangered animal and plant species.

In addition, the EU is a key transit point for illegal trade in wildlife, notably between Africa and Asia. Given TRAFFIC’s presence on five continents, the MoU enables Europol to reinforce its position in dealing with this emerging threat.

This initiative is also in line with the EU Action Plan aimed at combating wildlife trafficking, in which Europol plays an important part.