Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is estimated to be worth around $20bn per year, making it the 4th largest crime on a global level. Many criminal syndicates perceive it to be a low-risk and highly profitable model, and FATF and United for Wildlife Foundation have highlighted the convergence of IWT with narcotics, human trafficking, arms trade and counter-proliferation, and financial threats. IWT also fuels corruption, has serious environmental and biodiversity costs, as well as potentially significant impacts for public health and national economies. In particular, the recent high profile spread of zoonotic diseases (ie the coronavirus pandemic) underlines the importance of ensuring that wildlife is traded in a legal, safe and regulated manner, and that countries remove the profitability of illegal markets.
We're delighted to be welcoming Chinali Patel, Consul International Illicit Finance at the British Consulate General, Hong Kong, and Brian Gonzales, Head of Protection of Endangered Species, WWF-HK. Hong Kong is itself a major hub for wildlife trafficking, and Chinali and Brian will be talking more about this global threat - including the work they're doing with United for Wildlife Foundation Financial Taskforce, ACAMS, NGOs, transport and the private sector in Hong Kong to tackle the money flows arising from illegal wildlife trade.