Convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime: A 2023 Review

As wildlife trafficking has grown to become a more serious and profitable crime type during the past two decades, there is also mounting evidence of the increased involvement of organised crime groups and cases where wildlife crime is committed in conjunction with other forms of serious and organised crime.

The Wildlife Justice Commission is publishing a new report on the convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime, building on our first crime convergence report, published in 2021, which analysed a set of 12 case studies, and illustrated the varied ways that wildlife crime can overlap or intersect with other serious and organised crimes. The body of evidence has also grown during the past two years, with further research reports and case studies published on this topic and commitments to address wildlife crime convergence adopted in the international policy framework.

This new report, Convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime: A 2023 Review, revisits the issue, building on the Wildlife Justice Commission’s previous work on wildlife crime convergence by presenting additional analysis and insights from three in-depth case studies, based on open-source research and intelligence collected during Wildlife Justice Commission investigations.  

These cases continue to demonstrate that criminal networks may have a range of motivations to diversify their criminal activities and form new partnerships or alliances, infiltrate new markets, or exploit gaps, vulnerabilities, or opportunities. They also show that corruption, illicit financial flows, and money laundering are common underlying factors present in almost all organised wildlife crime cases.  

Why is the Wildlife Justice Commission releasing this report? 

The aim of this new report is to shed light on crime convergence through the identification of convergence typologies and strategies that assist law enforcement and policy makers to address these forms of transnational organised crime.   

What are the best practices to tackle the convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime?

The Wildlife Justice Commission’s 2021 report presented six recommendations to assist law enforcement authorities and policy makers in strengthening their focus on the intersection of wildlife crime with other serious and organised crimes. These recommendations remain relevant, particularly as the international policy framework increasingly recognises the need to research this nexus and strengthen the collection of information on wildlife trafficking patterns and flows. 

Wildlife crime is a cross-cutting criminal activity which cannot be tackled in isolation from other crimes. By addressing convergence and removing the common nodes between criminal networks, law enforcement agencies can have a greater impact on disrupting organised crime and prevent networks to displace or regroup.