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Press Release

U.S. Embassy, U.K. Embassy, UNODC, and Wildlife Conservation Society Partner with Vietnamese Government to Discuss Combating Transnational Crime

HANOI, September 5, 2012 – The U.S. Embassy, U.K. Embassy, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) partnered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security to co-host a discussion on combating organized criminal networks engaging in a range of transnational crimes, including human trafficking, drug smuggling, illegal wildlife trade, and other cross-border crimes.

“Transnational organized crime is a global problem, and no nation is immune,” said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear. “We are working with partners in Vietnam to better train regulators, customs officials, police officers, prosecutors, and judges in order to shut down illicit traders, strengthen legitimate markets, protect communities, and bolster the economy.”

At the August 31 meeting, international and local experts and law enforcement officials shared information, experiences, and best practices and discussed priorities and challenges in forging international cooperation across sectors to strengthen transnational crime control.

“Tackling corruption could be a major boost to Vietnam’s future economic development,” said Kate Harrisson, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.K. Embassy. “In our role as lead development partner on anti-corruption the U.K. is committed to supporting the Vietnamese Government’s efforts on this agenda. One of the key challenges that we are working on together is to ensure that existing legislation is effectively enforced at the provincial and local level.  This must mean strong commitment from the law enforcement agencies, and strengthened accountability.  This discussion offers a valuable opportunity to look together at how these steps can be taken in the communities around Mong Cai in particular.”

“Our research has revealed that the organized crime gangs involved in wildlife trafficking are also responsible for  trafficking of drugs, humans, weapons and e-waste across the Vietnam-China border, and therefore our response as international organizations and government must also be coordinated and collaborative,” said Scott Roberton, WCS’ Country Director in Vietnam. “We hope that bringing these diverse organizations and government departments together will help us move towards that goal.”

Vietnam recently ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which entered into force in Vietnam in June 2012. At the discussion, UNODC highlighted current drug trafficking trends, as found in the 2012 World Drug Report, and implications to Vietnam, including newly emerging criminal activities such as environment crimes. Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva, UNODC Country Manager in Vietnam called for a continuous donor engagement and assistance to the national efforts in these areas.