Education, multi-sectorial cooperation and enforcement action have been identified as the three critical measures necessary for fighting illicit trade; and Crime Stoppers International intends to take a leading role in these activities in 2018.
This was the consensus reached by stakeholders at the Crime Stoppers International Roundtable at the 11th WTO Miniterial Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this month. In an interview after the roundtable, Ruud Smulders, CEO of Crime Stoppers International, confirmed that this organisation intends to formally submit the recommendations of the roundtable to the WTO and other international agencies in the first quarter of 2018. Smulders stated that “addressing the issue of illicit trade, corruption and other related crimes required cooperation amount multiple stakeholders and that Crime Stoppers International was the ideal organization to facilitate this process”.
Smulders stated that this organization will be organizing a series of roundtables and seminars with private and public sectors with a special focus on media organizations, law enforcement agencies, academia and industry in 2018, with a view to creating an alliance of partners that are committed to working with civil society in fighting organized crime and illicit trade.
Smulders also noted that Free Trade Zones presented opportunities which were being exploited by criminal networks, and stated that his organization was in discussions with the management of the Colon Free Zone in Panama, with the objective of implementing a pilot project in 2018. “Our intention is to develop a model which, once successful, can easily be replicated to other Free Trade Zones worldwide” stated Smulders. “this model will include education and awareness activities and the implementation of the Crime Stoppers reporting system which will allow employees working in an FTZ the opportunity to report information on illicit trade, corruption, fraud and other crimes anonymously”.
The fight on illicit trade
Also speaking at the roundtable was Edwon Vismona, President of the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition. Vismona called upon governments and law enforcement agencies to give priority to the issue of illicit trade of their agendas. He stated, “political will is essential in order to effectively deal with the problem of illicit trade”.
Other recommendations put forward by the roundtable included the need for limitations to be placed on illicit financial flows; increased focus on countering the illicit trade in legitimate goods, improved data gathering techniques and measurement and capacity building of law enforcement agencies.
Crime Stoppers International (CSI) is an international NGO that is headquartered in the Netherlands. The organization’s mission is “to mobilize the world to report information on crime anonymously”. CSI maintains a co-operation agreement with INTERPOL and has collaborative agreements with organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC), the CNN Freedom Project (CNN), Airline Ambassadors International (AAI) and the International Police Training Institute (IPTI).