International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced a new joint initiative with the Foreign Office, to target wildlife traffickers and criminal gangs, tackling the global scourge of the illegal wildlife trade.
The UK aid project will launch investigations, seize assets and train law enforcement in East and Southern African countries and will be the largest known project of its kind to crack down on financial crimes associated with the illegal wildlife trade in the world.
Ms Mordaunt will set out this support at an event with the Duke of Cambridge, where global financial organisations will jointly declare that they “will not knowingly facilitate or tolerate financial flows that are derived from IWT and associated corruption”.
This Wildlife Financial Taskforce will initially comprise of representatives from 30 global banks and financial organisations such as Standard Chartered, HSBC, RBS and City Group, and agencies and regulatory bodies including TRAFFIC and RUSI.
“We can only stop the illegal wildlife trade by targeting the international gangs and criminal networks which essentially drive it,” said International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.
UK aid is directly supporting efforts to recover illegal assets, disrupt organised crime networks and stop the flow of dirty money so that it can protect endangered and trafficked species and bring those responsible to justice.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt noted that the illegal wildlife trade is driving endangered species to the brink of extinction and robbing communities around the world of vital income.
‘’To truly end this crime we need to tackle the corruption which allows the trade to flourish, with cross-border investigations which lead to successful prosecutions