Many people perceive wildlife trafficking as a victimless crime. In reality, the illegal trade of wildlife can victimise everyone. Wildlife trafficking and the addendum black market that sustains the illegal trade of wildlife products hampers biodiversity, threatens the livelihoods of people, and impacts national security and economic development.
The illegal trade of wildlife produces enormous profits for transnational criminal groups. Blurring the origins of the proceeds of wildlife trafficking, storing the funds safely and making them readily accessible are key goals for professional money launderers.
Yet the same money laundering activity offers an opportunity for financial institutions and others to report suspicious transaction reports to financial intelligence units, hopefully leading to investigation and prosecution.
The illegal trade of wildlife often supports a wider network of criminal activity. These illegal practices are most frequently enabled by corrupt politicians and officials who will turn a blind eye to the illegal transport of wildlife products as well as the movement of weapons or the trafficking of humans. History has shown that the proceeds of wildlife trafficking can be used to resource terrorist groups.
To combat the illegal trade of wildlife, financial intelligence must be gathered from a variety of sources. If compliance professionals at financial institutions are able to detect and report on suspicious transactions to the authorities, the exploitation of animals can be greatly reduced.
In collaboration with The Royal Foundation and the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce, ManchesterCF has assembled detailed case studies, examples and red flags to advise course participants on suspicious financial patterns that may indicate the illegal trade of wildlife.