UK Launches Global Financial Task Force to Crack Down on Wildlife Trafficking

Wildlife trafficking has become a major issue and it’s threatening the survival of many species around the world, all while making criminals rich. While governments and conservationists continue to work towards solutions to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife and their parts, a new task force has been launched in the UK to hit traffickers where it will hurt the most their bank accounts.

The task force, which was announced just in time for the international conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in London, will be supported by the government and led by United for Wildlife, a charity run by the Royal Foundation.

According to a statement from the government, it will be the largest known project of its kind to crack down on financial crimes associated with the illegal wildlife trade in the world, which is now worth billions of dollars annually.

Not only are traffickers driving imperiled species to the brink, they’re also likely to be involved in other illegal activities, such as trafficking drugs, weapons and people.

“UK aid is directly supporting efforts to recover illegal assets, disrupt organised crime networks and stop the flow of dirty money so that we can protect endangered and trafficked species and bring those responsible to justice,” said International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.

The task force will be made up of representatives from financial institutions around the world, along with agencies and regulatory bodies including TRAFFIC.

At the launch, representatives from 30 global banks and financial organizations including Standard Chartered, JP Morgan, HSBC, Western Union, CitiGroup and Bank of America, signed the Mansion House Declaration, pledging that they “will not knowingly facilitate or tolerate financial flows that are derived from IWT and associated corruption.”

Overall, the declaration covers six commitments that also include raising awareness about how the financial industry can fight trafficking, providing training on identifying and investigating suspicious activities, and giving evidence to law enforcement and regulatory bodies, among others that will change the way financial institutions can help end the illegal trade.

“By following the money, financial institutions can help map the criminal networks and provide law enforcement with vital intelligence to support their investigations and prosecutions. We want to take the fight to the traffickers, by using the tools and experience the financial sector has learned from combating other devastating crimes, such as human trafficking and terrorist financing,” said David Fein, Group General Council for Standard Chartered and Vice Chair of the Transport Taskforce at United for Wildlife.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

75 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y16 days ago

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Jack Y
Jack Y16 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J16 days ago

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John J
John J16 days ago

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Anna R
Anna Rabout a month ago

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John W
John W2 months ago

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h3 months ago

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Kitty Heardman
Vee B3 months ago

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Michael F
Michael F4 months ago

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Michael F
Michael F4 months ago

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