There are legitimate transport routes for different types of illegal products. Borders are not a barrier to environmental crimes, which include illicit logging, the disposal of hazardous waste, and the trafficking of ivory, as well as the overfishing of endangered species. Environmental criminals use the same well-known trade and traffic routes. Animals and illicit timber trading can be carried from Africa to Asia and Europe and from Asia to Europe.
Additionally, throughout Southeast Asia, the smuggling patterns of ODS and pangolin are very similar. Furthermore, illicit wildlife resources may be trafficked from Asia and Africa to Europe, and the US has hidden them inside legal shipments. Similarly, traffickers might fill return containers, which would normally return empty, with illegal hazardous trash to save transportation expenses.
The Exploitation of Legitimate Transport Routes for Different Types of Illegal Products
Timber items are rarely trafficked in a fully secretive manner since illegal wood, and all other wood-based products may be easily moved inside the legal market through corruption and falsified papers. Most illegal wood in Southeast Asia and the Pacific is officially exported after entering the formal sector in its nation of origin. Some of the nations in the region still engage in clandestine trade or trafficking of logs or sawn timber, especially concerning species that fetch high prices.
Official corruption is the main factor in exporting illicit wood-based goods from East Asia and the Pacific to distribution channels. For instance, in the Solomon Islands, the lines between legal and illegal trading concerning formal export-oriented log output have become muddled due to cooperation between government officials and the forestry business. Transparency International claims that government ministers still exercise much discretion over forestry operations with little accountability.
According to the statistics, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia are the main exporters of illegal wood-based goods to the EU, the US, and Japan. The illegality connected to many of those shipments from China comes from imported raw materials made of wood, notably from Indonesia. Most contraband logs transported from numerous nations, including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, are sent to China. The sole provider of illegal paper sector goods in the area, Viet Nam imports a smaller amount of illegal wood from the region.
The Asia-Pacific area produces more fish and aquaculture than any other world region, such as 50 and 89 percent, respectively. As 85% of the world’s workers in fisheries and aquaculture are based in Asia, the fishing industries in this area play a significant role in the social and economic security of the region. Additionally, the Asia Pacific Fishery Commission, or APFIC, is thought to be a hub for drug and human trafficking in the fishing business, making it potentially exposed to such crimes. This region usually has a low adaptive ability to change, making it more susceptible to market shifts and restricted access to services.
China has been the main supplier of ODS that is being sold illegally. Before their ultimate phase-out in 2010, the majority of them were CFCs. The illegal transportation of HCFCs is anticipated to rise because China presently produces more ODS than any other country in the world. China produced a maximum of about 55,000 tons of CFCs annually in 1998. But by 2007, following an expedited phase-out of production, just one CFC facility was left in operation, generating just 550 tons annually.
However, China’s generation of HCFCs has increased significantly while CFC generation has decreased. Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the Middle East have been the primary destinations for importing CFCs illegally from China since 2005. The United States, Taiwan, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and Europe are the primary destinations for illegal HCFCs.
The strategies used are revealed by examining cases of unauthorized HCFC importation in the United States. In two instances, Florida-based businesses imported HCFCs in large quantities by transshipping them from China via an off-the-shelf corporation in the Dominican Republic to hide the shipment’s origin or via Caribbean islands to escape detection.
Data from e-seizure operations put light on the movement of illegal ODS. Customs officers carried out 19 of the 21 seizures in China in Shanghai, Ningbo, and Hangzhou because China’s ODS manufacturing is concentrated in the eastern province of Zhejiang, which also has a large number of ODS trading businesses. Ningbo and Hangzhou are both in Zhejiang province, which borders Shanghai.
Most illegal exports of ODS from China go through the container ports in Ningbo and Shanghai. Instead of large iso tanks, most seizures have involved packages of ODS packed in 13.6-kilogram disposable cylinders. Although facilities for repackaging huge bulk supplies of ODS are needed, these little cylinders are desirable to smugglers since they may be sold easily in the market later.
For illegal waste trafficking that increasingly targets central and eastern European Member States, Western European Member States serve as origin and transit countries, with Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, and Romania emerging as important hubs. Mixed waste is carried throughout the EU on trucks and freight trains using forged documents and occasionally without any. Waste is transported beyond the EU via freight and marine cargo through Western Europe’s major ports and hinterland.
The Guardian has investigated the destination countries to which American plastic waste was sent in 2019. 34.5 million tons of plastic are produced in the United States annually, whereas 1 million tons of plastic garbage are exported yearly. According to an analysis by The Guardian, 68,000 containers were transferred to nations that improperly dispose of 70 percent of their plastic litter.
Some of the world’s poorest nations, such as Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia, and Senegal, are the newest hotspots for managing US plastic recycling. In 2015, 9 percent of American plastic garbage was predicted to be recycled, with Hong Kong and China handling more than half of that amount, or 1.6 million tons.
Online markets are becoming popular in illegal environmental crimes. East Asia and South East Asia seem to be the two most active places for illegal internet trafficking in endangered species. The availability of cell phones and internet connections will continue to expand globally, but not as quickly. The global mobile internet user base is predicted to grow from 45 percent in 2018 to 62 percent in 2025.
Smuggling is the illegal movement of objects, substances, information, or people, such as out of a house or building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations. Smuggling is defined by social scientists as the intentional movement across a border in violation of the relevant legal frameworks.
Smuggling can be motivated by a variety of factors. Participation in illegal trade, such as drug trafficking, illegal weapons trade, prostitution, human trafficking, kidnapping, exotic wildlife trade, art theft, blood diamonds, heists, chop shops, illegal immigration or illegal emigration, tax evasion, import/export restrictions, providing contraband to prison inmates, or theft of the items being smuggled, is one of these.