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Environmental crime is a global threat to the security, economy, environment and sustainable development. Its value is estimated to be ca. 91–258 billion USD annually with a 5-7% annual growth rate, which is 2–3 times the percentage increase of the global economy. Environmental crime is often understood as acts or activities that are in violation of environmental legislation and cause significant harm to the environment and human health. They provide for very high profits for perpetrators and relatively low risks of detection. Profits from the illegal exploitation of natural resources are often funneled into organized criminal and terrorist organizations.

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