Karol Bagh | IAS GS Foundation Course | 29 May, 6 PM Call Us
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates

Biodiversity & Environment

WJC Report Links Wildlife Trafficking to Organized Crime

  • 02 Nov 2023
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade, Illegal Sand Mining, Organized Crime, Pangolin, Rhino Poaching

For Mains: Organized crime and Wildlife Trafficking, Sand Mining, Wildlife Conservation,

Source: DTE

Why in News?

The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating organized crime, has released a new report titled Convergence of Wildlife Crime with Other Forms of Organised Crime: A 2023 Review.

What are the Key Highlights of the Report?

  • Convergence of Wildlife Crime and Organized Crime:
    • The report uncovers strong connections between wildlife trafficking and various forms of organized crime.
      • These connections include protection rackets, extortion, murder, money laundering, illicit drugs, tax evasion, and corruption.
  • Illegal Sand Mining:
    • For the first time, the report identifies illegal sand mining as an environmental crime.
      • Sand, a raw material and second-most-used resource in the world is used to make concrete, asphalt and glass.
      • About 40-50 billion tonnes of sand resources are exploited each year, but their extraction is managed and governed poorly in many countries,
    • The Report sheds light on the adverse impacts of unregulated sand extraction, which is a crucial raw material globally.
    • Environmental Impact of Sand Mining:
      • Indiscriminate sand mining leads to erosion, negatively affecting communities and their livelihoods.
      • It has dire consequences for aquifers, storm surge protection, deltas, freshwater and marine fisheries, land use, and biodiversity.
    • Involvement of Violent Sand Mafias:
      • The report emphasizes that illegal sand-mining operations are often organized and operated by violent sand mafias.
      • The report recognizes instances of individuals, including journalists, activists, and government officials, who were killed for opposing illegal sand mining.
      • These incidents were reported not only in India but also in other countries, including Indonesia, Kenya, Gambia, South Africa, and Mexico.
  • Case Studies:
    • In addition to the 12 case studies from 2021, the report puts on record three cases from Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America.
      • The first case study illustrated the diversion of commodities such as pangolin scales, illegal sand mining, protection rackets and elephant ivory in Southeast Asia and Africa.
      • The Second case from Africa involved an embedded convergence between corruption, rhino poaching and money laundering.
      • The third study from Central America represented transactional convergence between drug trafficking networks and seafood businesses involving sea cucumber and sharks closely linked to the smuggling of illicit drugs, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.
  • Guiding Law Enforcement and Policymakers:
    • The report highlights the growing seriousness of wildlife trafficking, which has become a highly profitable and serious criminal activity.
      • Crime convergence should be further studied and integrated as part of the approach to tackle wildlife crime and organized crime more broadly.
    • The paper aims to provide typologies and strategies that can inform and support law enforcement and policymakers in their efforts to address transnational organized crime more effectively.

Organized Crime

  • About:
    • Organized Crime activities refer to actions carried out jointly or severally by members of a gang or syndicate, with the intent of obtaining pecuniary or other advantages.
  • Types of Organized Crime:
    • Organized gang criminality, Racketeering, Syndicate Crime, Drug trafficking, Cybercrime, Human trafficking, Money laundering, Violence, People smuggling, Extortion, Counterfeiting.
    • They operate covertly, exploiting gaps in law enforcement and regulations.
  • Legal Position In India on Organized Crime:

Mains Value Addition

Contributions of Himmata Ram Bhambhu in tackling Wildlife Crime

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. Consider the following statements in respect of Trade Related Analysis of Fauna and Flora in Commerce (TRAFFIC): (2017)

  1. TRAFFIC is a bureau under United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  2. The mission of TRAFFIC is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)


  • Trade Related Analysis of Fauna and Flora in Commerce (TRAFFIC), the wildlife trade monitoring network, is a joint program of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It was founded in 1976. It is not a bureau under UNEP. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.
  • TRAFFIC works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. Hence, statement 2 is correct.
  • TRAFFIC focuses on leveraging resources, expertise and awareness of the latest globally urgent species trade issues such as tiger parts, elephant ivory and rhino horn. Large scale commercial trade in commodities like timber and fisheries products is also addressed and linked to work on developing rapid results and policy improvements. Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.


Q. Coastal sand mining, whether legal or illegal, poses one of the biggest threats to our environment. Analyze the impact of sand mining along the Indian coasts, citing specific examples. (2019)

SMS Alerts
Share Page