This brief sets out to describe how our understanding of the problems posed by the online IWT, and our responses to it, have evolved. It measures the progress made in exposing the threat posed by the adoption of digital platforms by traders in endangered wildlife and raises questions about what we have not yet been able to understand, and why we need to.

It looks at trends in the phenomenon and suggests what they mean for the next generation of efforts to address this issue. Lastly, it describes the most pressing issues on the online IWT agenda, and explains how the Global Initiative’s new project, Digital Dangers: Disrupting Online IWT, aims to contribute to tackling the problem.

Figure 1: Digital dangers through the decades: A timeline of the online wildlife trade:

Digitally Enhanced Responses - New horizons for combating online illegal wildlife trade

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Simone Haysom

Simone Haysom is a Senior Analyst with the Global Initiative with expertise in corruption and organised crime, and almost a decade of experience conducting qualitative fieldwork in challenging environments.

Between 2010 and 2013, she worked for the Overseas Development Institute in London, researching urban displacement in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, and humanitarian policy in conflict zones. Before joining the GI, she worked as a freelance consultant, researching issues related to conflict, development and organised crime for organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Institute for Security Studies, and the University of Cape Town. She is the author of The Last Words of Rowan du Preez: Murder and Conspiracy on the Cape Flats, published by Jonathan Ball, a non-fiction account of a murder case, conspiracy allegation and Commission of Inquiry into policing in a poor and marginalised neighbourhood in Cape Town. She has a Mphil in Geography (Environment and Development) from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Scholar and last year was a Visiting Academic at the School of African Studies, at the University of Oxford.

In 2019, she will be researching the role of foreign organised crime groups in Africa.

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