An excellent new report just published by Save the Elephants starkly outlines the extent of the ivory trade in Viet Nam.
Written by renowned ivory researchers Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin, the report: ‘Vietnam’s illegal ivory trade threatens Africa’s elephants’ chronicles the emergence of Viet Nam as a major international ivory trafficking hub.
We can corroborate this report from our own investigation in Viet Nam, currently with the Vietnamese government. While we are unable to release details from our investigation at this point, so as not to jeopardise any criminal investigation by the authorities, we would like to highlight the strength of this report, in particular:
- The Vietnamese ivory trade is now one of the largest in the world.
- There appears to be little law enforcement within Viet Nam against the illegal ivory workshops and retail shops, especially in the smaller locations that few Western foreigners visit.
- Nearly all the customers shopping for ivory are from mainland China; they particularly like to visit Vietnam’s northern villages to buy ivory items, both wholesale and retail, as the prices are considerably lower than elsewhere in the country.
- A growing online illegal ivory trade is expanding among Vietnamese and mainland Chinese.
- Corruption and mismanagement in Viet Nam have abetted this expanding and flourishing illegal ivory trade, allowing retail displays to remain wide open and enabling smuggling of the many Vietnamese-carved illegal new ivory items into mainland China.
Vietnam’s illegal ivory trade threatens Africa’s elephants – report by Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin, published by Save the Elephants, 19 July 2016.