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Final report of the 2013 OSCE Conference on Prevention of Illicit Drug Trade on the Internet


This report, prepared by the TNTD/Strategic Police Matter Unit, includes the executive summary of the conference, summaries of the presentations and main findings and recommendations.


On 25-26 July 2013, supported by the Ukrainian Chairmanship, the Transnational Threats Department (TNTD) organized the OSCE-wide conference on “Prevention of Illicit Drug Trade on the Internet” in Vienna. Over 100 representatives from participating States (p.S.), Partners for Co-operation, international and regional organizations participated in this event. The conference was a follow-up event to the 2012 OSCE-wide Conference on “Prevention of Illicit Drug Supply to Youth”. The conference on “Prevention of Illicit Drug Trade on the Internet” sustained the OSCE policy in bringing to the attention of p.S. and law enforcement agencies various tools and mechanisms of creating barriers in illicit drug trade on the Internet and of protecting young people against supply in illicit drugs. The participants shared data on new trends in illicit drugs supply and exchanged information on new methods of forensic computer investigations of drug-related crimes. They also had a unique opportunity to strengthen international and regional co-operation to combat the illicit drug trade on the Internet.

The OSCE Conference recognized the leading role of the UN in combating illicit drugs and the diversion of chemical precursors; underlined the positive co-operation of the OSCE with UNODC; and supported the further strengthening of the existing relationship with INCB, EMCDDA, the Pompidou Group and INTERPOL for more effective assistance to countries affected by the threat of illicit drugs in the OSCE area. The Conference recommended to:

1. Actively implement the OSCE Concept for Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and the Diversion of Chemical Precursors (PC. DEC/1048) to address these challenges of illicit drug trade on the Internet by providing additional efforts and seeking new and innovative approaches for tackling the threat.

2. Undertake necessary measures by the participating States to adopt national legislation in order to facilitate prompt inclusion of psychotropic substances into the control lists and to share best practices in temporarily banning psychoactive substances, which are currently not under control of national/international legislation.

3. Disrupt the flow of illicit drugs via the Internet by building new and stronger bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

4. Promote the active information exchange between law enforcement agencies on uncovered illegal payments made by drug traffickers via new communication systems as well as postal services.

5. Enhance the technical infrastructure and ensure adequate funding of law enforcement to monitor the dark web area and the illegal anonymized traffic used in the Internet. The resulting fused intelligence should be used to drive counterdrug detection and interdiction operations.

6. Ensure that providers of the Internet-based payment services comply with the full range of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) measures that include the identification of a recipient and a payer, and the reporting of any suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).

7. Raise awareness of law enforcement agencies and FIUs on the “bitcoin” payment that was now receiving a great deal of attention by the public and could be used for illegal activities as well. Improved control of the “bitcoin” economy could significantly reduce drug supply via the Internet.

8. Encourage the law enforcement agencies of the participating States to deny the Internet drug dealers their illicit profits and access to banking systems with the assistance of various banking and credit card institutions.

9. Develop legal initiatives for bringing to justice people who assist or disseminate information about illicit drugs via the Internet and elaborate strategies to target online vendors.

10. Consider specialized Joint Investigation Teams as a good tool to assist law enforcement agencies to tackle this threat.

11. Review the possibility to establish an International Cybercrime Board in an effort to develop recommendations on combating illicit drug trade via the Internet and to stimulate a policy response to this issue.

12. Improve police recruitment methods in selecting educated officers in relevant cybercrime departments to cope with the requirements for combating illicit drug trade on the Internet.

13. Provide law enforcement personnel with specialized training on the modern modus operandi of the online illicit drug business to ensure that law enforcement agencies are aware of the importance of digital evidence to encourage the development of a digital evidence strategy.

14. Combine training with workshops on the identification and dissemination of best practices to provide police officers with tools for apprehending online suppliers.

15. Study the possibility to develop standards of professional practice for the sale and transfer of pharmaceutical services via the Internet.

16. Improve the control of mail and express courier deliveries and enforce the prevention of the mainstreaming of online illicit drug purchases. Synergies between law enforcement, the private sector, postal services, and the Internet service providers would secure the impact and sustainability of any supply reduction intervention.

17. Consider INTERPOL and the Pompidou Group publications on combating trafficking in illicit drugs on the Internet as useful tools for law enforcement agencies to tackle the problem in a more comprehensive manner.

18. Continue conducting counter-narcotic conferences, which have in this format a particular value in improving co-operation and disseminating and sharing international best practices and experiences.

19. Contribute to the EMCDDA research with new trends and substance information.

20. Strengthen national capabilities to identify and target the links between online illicit drug trafficking and other cybercrimes to provide an adequate response. The private sector and law enforcement can develop highly productive relationships to cope with this threat.