US, SA partner to combat wildlife trafficking

25th January 2023 By: Sane Dhlamini - Creamer Media Researcher and Writer

Following talks between South African officials and US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen relating to combatting illicit finance linked to the illegal wildlife trade, a task force has been formed.

Yellen said to protect wildlife populations from further poaching and to disrupt the associated illicit trade, “we must follow the money” as is done with other serious crimes.  

“This includes identifying and seizing the proceeds generated from the illegal wildlife trade and impeding the money laundering and cross-border transactions of the transnational criminal organisations often involved in—and who benefit from—corruption,” she said.

US President Joe Biden underlined during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in December 2022, that the world’s biggest economy is committed to working with South Africa and other African countries to address global challenges.

The Task Force will share US and South African financial red flags and indicators related to wildlife trafficking cases through partnership with the South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force and the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Financial intelligence units will increase information sharing to better support key law enforcement agencies in both countries.

The Task Force will also convene relevant government authorities, regulators, law enforcement, and the private sector to improve controls to combat money laundering and the illicit proceeds related to drug trafficking and wildlife trafficking.