IWT Financial Flows Toolkit launched to support financial institutions

A toolkit aimed at supporting financial institutions in addressing and reporting suspicious transactions relating to the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has been launched.

Developed by the UK Serious Organised Crime Network in collaboration with the UAE government, WWF, TRAFFIC and Themis, the IWT Financial Flows Toolkit focusses on the Africa to Asia route – including global financial centres, in particular the UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Follow the money

Financial institutions play a key role in monitoring and investigating suspicious activities, according to the developers who say that to disrupt the trade chain holistically, investigators need to ‘follow the money’ that fuels and finances the trade.

“It is critical to work together with entities across the sectors to detect, investigate and disrupt illicit financial flows related to wildlife trafficking by utilising red flags and risk assessment indicators,” according to associate director at Emirates Nature-WWF, Jennifer Croes.

The free to access toolkit is aimed at supporting governments and financial institutions to raise awareness of IWT and help them identify and mitigate suspicious transactions associated with illegal wildlife trade.

 Training and promotion

TRAFFIC, a non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants, says it will join with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) in China to promote the use of the toolkit by delivery of training and webinars, filling gaps in understanding financial flows and support measures to mitigate the risks of wildlife crime and associated money laundering.

This aims to address what China office director at TRAFFIC, Ling Xu, describes as a “lack of familiarity and low historic prioritisation of money laundering threats association with wildlife crime.”

The IWT Financial Flows Toolkit can be found here.


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