Southeast Asia - Wildlife Trafficking
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The trafficking in live animals and animal parts is a $20+ billion industry, and a significant market share of that is in southeast Asia. Countries in southeast Asia are source and destination countries, as well as housing several transit points where a variety of wildlife come and go. Major transit hubs in the region including the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, and most importantly the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, have seen the largest share of incidents monitored by Intelligence Fusion since May 1st. Countries within southeast Asia have ramped up their efforts at combating the illicit trafficking of wildlife with new campaigns launched by governments and civil society organisations each year. In 2015, illicit trafficking of wildlife was added as an area to discuss during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crimes, held yearly. This allowed the illicit wildlife trade to be put at the same level of attention as other illicit trades such as drug trafficking. In 2017, this meeting took place in Manila on September 18th â 21st.
'Several arrests have been made after police found individuals involved in the trade by monitoring social media, where some of the individuals were using Instagram and other social platforms to sell parts'
While efforts are made to stop the trafficking of live animals and animal parts, a continued and varied demand for animals and their parts, in addition to rampant corruption within these countries, make it so that animals will continue to be in danger in the near future. While pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world, ivory and rhinocerosâ horns continue to be in high demand. This demand is also shifting for not only ivory, which led to mainly male elephants being killed, but for other parts of the elephants now fetching large sums of money for their varied uses. This has led to the rise in the number of elephants poached locally particularly in Myanmar, where most elephants are killed in the Pathein and Ngapudaw Townships in the Irrawaddy region. Efforts to stop wildlife trafficking has also led to traffickers having to find new and innovative ways to sell and transport animals and their parts. Several arrests have been made after police found individuals involved in the trade by monitoring social media, where some of the individuals were using Instagram and other social platforms to sell parts. Wildlife trafficking is an important crime to tackle as it relates to wider issues regarding transnational crimes. Many overland smuggling routes for wildlife trafficking are similar to those taken by individuals to smuggle drugs, weapons, and even humans. Therefore, putting an end to one type of trafficking may cascade down to having an impact on other trades, through tighter border restrictions and an increase in law enforcement resources.