THE WHITE HOUSE

                     Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                  December 15, 2000

                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     The growing reach of international crime poses threats to American
citizens and American interests, both at home and abroad.  Illegal
activity from terrorism to trafficking in arms, drugs or humans violates
our values and threatens our safety. Intellectual property theft,
financial fraud and corruption also can endanger our prosperity, and
undercut public confidence in democracy and free markets around the

     To confront these challenges, today I am pleased to announce
several important initiatives in our ongoing efforts to combat
international crime.

     First, we are releasing a comprehensive International Crime Threat
Assessment, prepared at my direction, as part of our International Crime
Control Strategy adopted in May 1998. The new assessment highlights the
global dimensions of international crime and the ways this pervasive
problem threatens U.S. interests. This broader understanding is
necessary if we, together with our international partners, are to
strengthen our response to this global problem.

     Second, earlier this week in Palermo, Italy, the United States
joined many other countries in signing the United Nations Convention on
Transnational Organized Crime, along with two supplementary protocols on
migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. By harmonizing criminal
laws and promoting increased cooperation, the new Convention and its
protocols will enable the international community to better combat
international organized crime.

     Third, the Departments of State and Justice are establishing a
Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Coordination Center.  The
Center will integrate and improve our efforts to counter these distinct
but related global crime problems. The Center also will promote and
assist increased efforts by foreign governments and international
organizations to combat these problems.

     The United States is strongly committed to strengthening our
international crime control programs to achieve a world of greater
safety, prosperity, and justice. We urge the international community to
join us in enhancing our common efforts to advance these common aims.