International Investigator Training Targets Wildlife Trafficking Hotspot


DETECT Nong Kai March 2014

From March 16-24, twenty-six law enforcement officers from Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Thailand underwent an intensive bilateral investigations training course at a major endangered species smuggling corridor. The course focused on investigation techniques to detect ongoing wildlife trafficking between Thailand and Lao PDR, a major route for smuggling wildlife, including tigers, pangolins (scaly anteaters), and many other endangered species destined for markets in China and Vietnam. Law enforcement investigators including customs, police, wildlife officers, and prosecutors attended the course, which provided participants from Lao PDR’s Department of Forestry Inspection with their first-ever training in advanced investigations. The U.S.-supported training course developed the capacity of the officers to investigate organized criminal groups engaged in natural resource and wildlife crime. The course was also designed to improve enforcement collaboration between the two countries, which are both members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN). The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs co-funded the course, which was conducted by Freeland, a Bangkok-based counter-trafficking organization. Freeland implemented the training course as part of the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program, the U.S. Government’s largest counter wildlife trafficking initiative.

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