Every day, money changes hands worldwide for every illegal wildlife product sold. The illegal wildlife trade is organised crime on a global scale, estimated to be worth up to $20 billion annually, with links to money laundering, violence and corruption.
Traffickers are brazenly exploiting global financial systems to move the proceeds of their crimes, often remaining under the radar of investigation and law enforcement. Financial institutions can, therefore, play a crucial role in disrupting these criminal activities and ending the illegal wildlife trade, using existing systems to detect money laundering and proceeds of illegal goods.
That is why Prince William founded the bank-led United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce with the support of Lord Hague of Richmond. The Financial Taskforce, convened in 2018, with 30 founding financial institutions signing up to a set of commitments, known as the Mansion House Declaration.
The Declaration lays out six commitments, including the dedication to share resources and intelligence with law enforcement, and provide training to staff to better identify suspicious activity in a bid to disrupt the illegal income generated by wildlife trafficking. This growing network is supported by technical experts including RUSI and TRAFFIC, along with a Secretariat. At the heart of the Taskforce is an information-sharing system, which helps its members identify and implement specific actions that the financial sector can take on this issue.
Read the Mansion House Declaration in full here.