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From 1-3 March 2017, the Siracusa Institute will hold a high-level expert meeting to formally launch its research project on Illicit Trade and Related Crimes. This project was established to examine the complex, multifaceted phenomena of illicit trade, primarily from a criminal justice perspective. At its core, the project challenges some of the fundamental assumptions about “illicit trade” and asks whether the concept or notion of illicit trade is useful for guiding research and strengthening enforcement efforts. It also seeks to identify the strengths and limitations of the criminal justice response to illicit trade, and explore opportunities for the development of cross-sectoral legal and policy solutions.

This meeting brings together seven international experts who have examined illicit trade from different angles, namely: cultural property; wildlife; tobacco products; natural resources; medical products; humans and human organs; and links between illicit traffic in drugs, arms trafficking, and migrant smuggling, among other areas.

The purpose of the meeting is for these experts to present their research and preliminary findings, as well as discuss some of the most difficult but pressing issues that cut across these, and several other, sectors of illicit trade. The meeting will lead to the development of priority areas for further research, technical assistance and capacity-building activities.

Other experts participating in the meeting will share their insights and experience having worked with INTERPOL, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, UN Counter-Terrorism Committee, Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, International Chamber of Commerce, and UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

The closing of the meeting coincides with UN World Wildlife Day, on 3 March, which commemorates the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (the CITES Convention).

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