Persons in charge of the presentations:
Luis Almagro, General Secretary of the OAS
Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator for the State of Louisiana.
Gaston Schulmeister, Director, Department against Transnational Organized Crime of the OAS
Ana Linda Solano, Research Professor at Universidad Externado de Colombia
Joseph Humire, Director Center for a Secure Free Society
Ricardo Ortega, President at Grupo Energía Bogotá
As COVID-19 forced the global population to shift most activities online, illicit activities are also expanding through virtual channels, further exacerbating existing networks whether in the form of piracy, prostitution, money laundering, wildlife trafficking, human trafficking, the sale of counterfeit goods, or the trade of illegal drugs. This resurgence of illegal activities further reinforces that Illicit economies are emerging as an interdisciplinary field of action that has impacted individual lives and societies around the world. Illicit economies weaken trust in government, promote inequality, frequently driving violence, corruption, exploitation, and exacerbates the embezzlement of domestic resources that could be mobilized to meet the urgent needs of society.
However, for many communities living in poverty and conflict-affected areas across the globe, illicit economic activities promote short term solutions to immediate problems they face. Furthermore, in contexts where illicit economies lift communities out of poverty, development actors may be reluctant to align with disruptive efforts.
Such dynamics pose dilemmas for development and security actors, where illicit economies cause significant harm—linked to conflict and corruption while simultaneously providing 'solutions' to those affected, mostly the most vulnerable segment of the population.
The objective of this activity is to create awareness on illicit economies —an issue that has significant impact on OAS member States—, with the aim of facilitating a platform for dialogue with the private sector to explore partnerships to address the issue, promoting the exchange of experiences, lessons learned, and good practices between countries in the region.
This forum is directed to OAS Member States; local governments from the region working on the subject; representatives of multilateral institutions, civil society, NGOs, academia, and the private sector. This activity is organized by the Department against Transnational Organized Crime, and sponsored by Phillip Morris International.