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US and South Africa task forces formed to combat wildlife trafficking

The US Treasury Department revealed on Wednesday that the US and South Africa have established a new task group to combat the financing of wildlife trafficking.

The task force will focus on three main areas to fight money laundering associated with wildlife and drug trafficking: sharing financial red flags and indicators related to wildlife trafficking cases, sharing information between financial intelligence units of both countries, and bringing together government authorities.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated in a statement that “we must ‘follow the money’ in the same manner we do with other major crimes’ to safeguard animal populations from further poaching and disrupt the linked illicit trade.” This includes locating and confiscating the proceeds from the illegal wildlife trade and preventing the cross-border money laundering and transactions of the transnational criminal groups that are frequently involved in corruption and profit from it.

The Financial Action Task Force, the international organization that establishes standards for combating money laundering and other illicit finance, has worked with the US and South Africa, according to the Treasury Department, to identify indicators associated with money laundering and wildlife trafficking.

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