Today the cross-party MEPs For Wildlife group are launching their campaign to make wildlife trafficking a high priority in Europol's 2017 security threat assessment (SOCTA).
The MEPs have written to the ministers for environment and home affairs in all 28 EU countries asking them to give Europol the appropriate data, intelligence and resources it needs to tackle wildlife trafficking.
A serious crime needs to be made a "high priority" in the SOCTA in order for it to be investigated on a regular basis. Currently wildlife crime is not given this priority.
Lib Dem MEP and Chair of the group Catherine Bearder said:
"We must give Europol the teeth it needs to tackle wildlife trafficking like they would with human trafficking or money laundering.
"Wildlife trafficking is a high profit, low risk activity for the criminal groups doing it and the money streams gained from the illegal wildlife trade are often used to fund terrorist groups.”
Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP of the National Coalition Party from Finland said:
"Wildlife trafficking must be made a high priority so that Europol can tackle the illegal trade in items such as ivory, live reptiles, corals and specimen for traditional medicines.”