Posted on: 07 June 2018
There has been startling growth in the online illegal wildlife trade (IWT), and broad recognition of the need to apply financial and anti-money-laundering tools to the fight against environmental crime. Much illicit trade carried out over the internet requires some form of electronic payment. This paper explores how various payment methods are used in the online IWT, and the challenges and opportunities these present to law enforcement. Some inroads have been made into combating the online counterfeit trade by suppressing activities of ‘rogue’ digital payment providers that facilitate illicit trade. Opportunities to target the online IWT by monitoring digital payment transactions will emerge only if regulatory systems and technology keep pace with levels of innovation used by illegal wildlife traders to avoid detection.