UK Crown Prosecution Service

Monday, September 9, 2002
UK Crown Prosecution Service

Top prosecutors unite against international crime

The Attorney General today called on international prosecutors to enhance co-operation in the fight against serious and organised crime with a five-point action plan to tackle the growing threats posed by trafficking in humans, drugs and money.

The plan proposes:

  • A network of specialist international prosecutors to share information and improve co-operation
  • A handbook of best practice for the prosecution of international crime and trafficking
  • An International Charter for Victims and Witnesses
  • A task force on mutual legal assistance, judicial co-operation and extradition
  • Greater involvement of prosecutors in the formulation of policy initiatives and legislation

Opening the seventh International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) conference, in London, Lord Goldsmith urged over 500 top prosecutors and law enforcers from 63 countries to adopt the London Plan as a framework for practical action and mutual co-operation.

He said: "Serious and organised crime is big business. Traffickers profit from human misery. They pose a threat to our safety and security. The illegal trade in humans, drugs and money is the financial lifeblood of terrorism. According to recent estimates the £7bn drug market in the UK accounts for 2,000 deaths a year. In one city it was reported that 70% of all recorded crime was committed by drug users.

"The UN has estimated that illegal immigration is worth between $15 and $30 billion a year. In cases of human trafficking the victims are deceived and exploited, made to work in bonded labour, in sweatshops or in prostitution. Violence, threats and deception are common. An international conference last month was told that up to 6,000 women and children from Eastern Europe are brought to Britain, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands each year, destined for the sex trade.

"Money laundering is also a fundamental component of serious and organised crime. Criminals need it to clean the proceeds of their illegal activity. Estimates put the value of money laundering transactions at 2% to 5% of global GDP — around $1.5 trillion. Money laundering is also highly damaging to the economy, reducing tax revenue, distorting competition and making the black economy easier to operate.

"International prosecutors must respond. Criminals are quick to adapt to opportunities and challenges, using sophisticated techniques and modern technology. Where prosecutors and investigators have to respect national legal systems and boundaries, criminals exploit them. To counter them law enforcement agencies have to match them.

"This conference presents a unique opportunity to make real progress in tackling these issues, and to capitalise on the environment of enhanced international co-operation that exists following the events of September 11. I call on delegates to sign up to the London Plan as a basis for extending the vital work taking place across national frontiers to combat these pernicious threats."

Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the CPS, Sir David Calvert-Smith QC said: "I am honoured that the IAP have chosen London for this year's conference and delighted that the CPS has played a major part in its organisation.

"I am enormously proud to be the head of an organisation during a time in which it has made dramatic progress towards its vision of becoming a prosecuting authority of stature both domestically and on the European and wider international stage.

"The need to work more closely and directly with our international colleagues is now overwhelming. Only by doing so can we tackle the ever increasing scourge of criminal gangs whose activities recognise no boundaries.

"This conference should mark another important step forward in our and other prosecution agencies' efforts to secure concerted international co-operation on these issues."

Notes to Editors

The International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) is the first and only international forum for prosecutors of the world and, since its inception in 1995, it has reached into 90 countries with over 77 organisational members and 2,100 individual members.

The DPP is the only UK member of the association's executive committee and was invited to host the event on the association's behalf. This is the first time the conference has been hosted in the UK.

The theme of this year's conference is: The Threat of Global Crime: Trafficking in Humans, Drugs and Money. The venue for this year's conference, which runs from 8-12 September, is the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster. Previous conferences have been held in Budapest, Ottawa, Dublin, Beijing, Cape Town and Sydney.

The current president is Nicholas R Cowdery QC, who is the DPP of New South Wales, Australia.

Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8106 or 8103.

[Gov. Reports]

Created: September 16, 2002
Last modified: September 18, 2002
CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710