Support the Wildlife Conservation & Anti-Trafficking Act

On May 8, 2018, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Wildlife Conservation & Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R. 5697). This is a landmark piece of bipartisan legislation that, if passed, will greatly enhance law enforcement and strengthen regulation of wildlife trafficking. Take action today and urge your Representatives to support this bill!

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About This Legislation

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R. 5697) is a bipartisan bill that was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) in May 2018. It is co-sponsored by Chairman Emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

This landmark anti-trafficking bill will radically increase wildlife crime enforcement and activate wildlife whistleblowers around the globe. The bill is endorsed by major conservation organizations including the World Wildlife Fund, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the African Wildlife Foundation.

Read the bill summary here.

Take Action! Support the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 click here to  write your Representatives, urging that they vote in favor of landmark anti-wildlife trafficking legislation.

FAQs

Q: What is the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018?

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2018 is a bill that was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and the chairman emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Don Young (R-AK). It is landmark, bipartisan legislation that will enhance the ability to detect and enforce wildlife crimes, assist in reversing the global extinction crisis.

Q: What does the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 do?

It will strengthen U.S. interagency coordination, capacity, and laws to better combat wildlife trafficking. Here are three reasons why this is such a powerful piece of legislation:

It creates strong incentives for whistleblowers around the world to report trafficking crimes.
It enhances the laws that can be used to prosecute wildlife traffickers and makes trafficking an organized crime criminal activity under the RICO and Travel Acts.
It mandates that all of the fines and penalties collected from successful prosecutions be used for wildlife conservation efforts worldwide.

Q: How are whistleblowers protected under the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018?

The bill mandates confidentiality and anonymity for whistleblowers throughout the world, enabling them to safely report trafficking crimes. It incentivizes reporting by requiring rewards be paid to qualified whistleblowers whose original information results in a successful prosecution. Finally, it requires the responsible federal agencies to establish Whistleblower Offices to ensure whistleblower concerns are properly investigated and rewarded.

Q: How does the bill enhance enforcement?

The bill makes trafficking a predicate offense under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and Travel Act. RICO is the most powerful anti-corruption law in the United States that been successfully used to target and crush organized crime. Penalties recovered from successful prosecution under these laws are mandated to go directly into conservation efforts. This means that catching criminals will fund saving wildlife. With no expense to the tax-payer.

Q: How does the bill help wildlife conservation?

The law mandates that all the fines and penalties recovered from the traffickers be used solely for enhancing wildlife conservation worldwide. The law has the potential to generate millions of funds which can be invested into helping to protect and restore critically endangered species.

Additional Resources

Read Bordallo and Young’s Joint Press Release:  Bordallo, Young Introduce Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act

Watch Rep. Bordallo’s House Floor Speech

TALKING POINTS FOR H.R. 5697

Looking to call your Representative about the bill? Here are talking points that you can use when making that call.

READ OUR SPECIAL REPORT TO CONGRESS ON H.R. 5697

Read the full text: Special Report to U.S. Congress: The Urgent Need for H.R. 5697

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE REPORT

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has vindicated our position! The GAO has issued a report which demonstrates that action must be taken in the U.S. government agencies to better enforce and combat the illegal wildlife trade. “This report reinforces the urgent need for Congressional action,” said Stephen M. Kohn.

Both the Department of Commerce (NOAA) and the Department of Interior (Fish and Wildlife Service) have concurred with the GAO’s recommendations.

The full text of the GAO report can be viewed here.

READ OUR IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE’S WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAM

The National Whistleblower Center used Freedom of Information Act requests to conduct an in-depth analysis of Fish and Wildlife Service’s whistleblower program and its payment of rewards from 2003-2016. Read our report here.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WILDLIFE WHISTLEBLOWERS

Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, Stephen M. Kohn, is an internationally-recognized expert on whistleblower law. He wrote the article “Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers: A Game-Changer in Wildlife Trafficking Detection and Deterrence,” which highlights the need for a qui tam law to fight wildlife trafficking, and was used as a resource by the Natural Resources Committee to draft this historic bill. NWC staff briefed Sen. Wyden (D-OR) on Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn’s article on wildlife whistleblowing in the Environmental Law Institute which triggered the GAO investigation.

To read the article, click here.

Learn about the NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program and its confidential transnational reporting system which protects whistleblowers’ identities and educates them about their rights to obtain rewards for reporting wildlife crimes.

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