This synthesis brings together select findings from across ‘Digital Dangers’, a year-long project run by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. The primary objective of the Digital Dangers project has been to acquire a better understanding of the unsustainable online trade in endangered animals and illicit wildlife products, and develop a foundation for its disruption.

The Digital Dangers project has yielded diverse outputs, including funding and training for investigative journalists, three species-specific case studies of online trade, four policy briefs considering different aspects of law-enforcement response, and the creation of a new piece of technology for identifying internet sites related to online transactions of CITES-1-listed species. This culminating report draws selectively on insights from these activities to present our conclusions to the question of how best to respond to the growth of digitally enabled methods of marketing, buying and selling illicit wildlife products. It delivers the results of this analysis in three sections. The first describes the present situation, the second looks at how shifts to digitally enabled trade have themselves disrupted existing approaches by both illicit traders and those tasked with combating IWT, and the final section considers different possible approaches to disrupting online IWT.

In search of cyber-enabled disruption - Insights from the Digital Dangers project

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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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