South Africa: A Report Identifies Role-Players in Wildlife Crime in the Country

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Cape Town, South Africa — According to a report by the South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force, game rangers, veterinarians, casino employees, construction and transportation industry workers, as well as customs and other government officials, all play a role in the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products ecosystem (SAMLIT).

SAMLIT said in a statement that a report developed by an expert working committee captured the key participants and the strategies they employed for illegal wildlife trading (IWT). The money flows associated with this trade were the focus of the SAMLIT working group.

“Valued at anywhere between U.S.$7- and U.S.$23 billion per year, illegal wildlife trade is quoted by the World Economic Forum as one of the most profitable criminal enterprises worldwide, alongside arms dealing, drugs, and human trafficking, yet it lacks prominence as a financial crime,” the report read.

Some of the report’s findings include that most of the illegal rhino horn entering the market, originates in South Africa and that the methods of smuggling rhino horn out of the country have, to date, not been sufficiently exposed, with most poaching incidents identified as having occurred in the Kruger National Park.

It also found that poachers are mostly paid in cash or “send-cash” options that create vouchers, redeemable at selected retail till-points or ATMs. “Cash is the preferred and most frequently used method of payment as it minimises the risk of detection and allows for easier flows between legal and illegal economies.

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