The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) of protected species threatens ecosystems, incites violence and helps spread diseases. It is also a highly lucrative form of organised crime. Interpol and the UN Environment Programme list the IWT as at least the fourth largest global illegal industry after drugs, human trafficking and arms, estimating its value to be between $7bn and $23bn each year.
Wildlife traffickers resort to financial crime at every stage of their illegal supply chain, from bribing officials to laundering their proceeds through international financial systems. The financial sector therefore has a key role to play in clamping down on the trade, as discussed in our latest Themis briefing note.