BANGKOK, January 23, 2015 – Thirty-eight senior law enforcement officials, five of them women, recently attended two five-day Advanced Wildlife Investigation Courses, designed to build law enforcement capacity to combat transnational wildlife crime.
Southeast Asia is recognised as a well-known hot spot for wildlife trafficking, especially the highly populated metropolis Bangkok, whose airports and other excellent infrastructure make it a common target for illegal wildlife destined for Asian markets.
The training course, in line with the USG’s implementation plan for the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, was jointly presented by criminal investigators from Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Freeland, an NGO focusing on wildlife and human trafficking. Participants included various law enforcement officers from Thailand, including investigators and prosecutors. Instructors from Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Department of Natural Parks, Royal Thai Customs, Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division, Attorney General’s Office, Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and Border Patrol Police assisted foreign instructors from Freeland and the U.S in conducting the course.
Funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), the advanced investigation course provided participants with some of the latest investigation techniques used to gather evidence and document illegal trade in wildlife and timber at both the national and international level.
Instructors passed on advanced investigation techniques to the participants through classroom lectures, hands-on practice, real-life scenarios, and a variety of techniques including ‘controlled deliveries’, aimed at targeting kingpins of criminal syndicates responsible for exploiting and profiting from the region’s biodiversity. Freeland worked together with DHS/HIS and USFWS to develop the curriculum and provided expert trainers as part of the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program.
Looking ahead, Freeland will continue to utilize its on-the-ground expertise to identify investigative capabilities and direct training resources in an efficient, cost effective manner, recognizing the USG’s and partner countries’ past and future capacity building endeavors.