WHY IS WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING ON THE RISE?
Increased buyer power, population growth, and globalization have led to the proliferation of wildlife markets around the world, with China and the United States as the lead consumers. While demand continues to increase, corruption, breakdown in the rule of law and weak legal systems allow poachers and traffickers to drive the crisis from the supply side.
Countries lacking strong law enforcement as well as areas controlled by militants and gangs are hubs for wildlife trafficking. Studies show a confirmed overlap between the narcotics and ivory trades. And human trafficking and terrorist networks along the East African coast have been shown to use the same facilitators and transport mechanisms. These criminal networks are commodity agnostic, trading in drugs, arms and wildlife. Therefore, investigating wildlife crime often illuminates the operations that are used to traffic other illicit goods.