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Enhanced legislation needed against smuggling.

Peshawar -- INTERPOL has launched its first ever trafficking and counterfeiting casebook providing evidence of the connection between illicit trade and other types of organized crime. The casebook details organized crime networks and how funds generated from illicit trade are used for other nefarious activities.

In Pakistan, one of the most trafficked commodities is cigarettes. Nearly 25.4% of all cigarettes sold are counterfeit, denying the exchequer PKR 26.9 billion in tax revenues annually. The legal minimum price for a packet of cigarettes is PKR 34.77, yet products available in the market cost as little as PKR 10.

"The criminal networks behind trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting are complex and pervasive," said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. \"The INTERPOL Trafficking and Counterfeiting casebook is the first publicly released study to provide comprehensive evidence of the clear connection between illicit trade and other types of organized crime.\"

It is interesting to note that the areas in Pakistan that are known for smuggling of tobacco products and other items are also infested with militancy. "Financing of militancy is a topic which has not been fully discussed in Pakistan," a source in FBR said on condition of anonymity.

Several strategies are outlined to combat illicit trading and trafficking by organized crime outfits around the world. The report argues for more stringent controls on transhipments and goods in free trade zones. There is also a need for supply chain controls for key inputs, which in the world of cigarette manufacturing, translates to acetate low, green tobacco and low density poly ethylene (NTMs).

The report advises local lawmakers also need to enhance national legislation to close loopholes and increase the deterrent against smuggling and illegal trade. Finally, recommended is the implementation of reliable, technologically advanced, and transparent tracking systems, such as the internationally renowned codentify, to help protect government tax revenues and curb trafficking.

"This unique casebook is a compilation of past and present criminal cases which demonstrate the links between illicit trade and counterfeiting crimes and many other serious crimes. It is a free reference document for police and the public, to help them understand the involvement of organized criminal groups in counterfeiting and illicit trade," said Michael Ellis, Head of INTERPOL's Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting Unit.

"We hope this book will raise awareness of the impact this crime has on all levels of society," he added.

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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 18, 2014
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