IFAW Report Calls for Whistleblower Protections

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IFAW Report Calls for Whistleblower Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. | August 17, 2021 — Yesterday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) published a report documenting wildlife trafficking online and possible actions that could be taken to intervene in these activities – including whistleblower protections. In the report, IFAW addresses the scope of the illicit trade, the species most targeted by traffickers online, and the proliferation of these trafficked items found in their survey of the digital U.S. market. Notably, IFAW thanks the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) for contributions and expertise regarding whistleblower policy.

The report, “Digital Markets: Wildlife Trafficking Hidden in Plain Sight,” makes recommendations to the U.S. government on how to best stop illegal online wildlife trade, recommending that enforcement bodies “should develop whistleblower programs to encourage and incentivize the reporting of online wildlife trafficking by private citizens and government employees” and highlights that “whistleblower programs have proven to be an effective tool in other federal enforcement contexts” like securities, tax, and commodities. The report notes that any whistleblower program that covers online wildlife trafficking should include “anonymous reporting, anti-retaliation protections, and substantial rewards” – all facets long supported by NWC as the tenets of a powerful whistleblower program.

Siri Nelson, NWC Executive Director, said, “We are so grateful IFAW affirmed the power of strong reporting channels and whistleblower protections as key points in any strategy to combat illegal wildlife trafficking online. Safe reporting structures paired with robust protections and significant rewards are the U.S. government’s best tools against the illicit wildlife trade and are powerful and effective in the hands of whistleblowers.”

For more information, please contact Nick Younger at nick.younger@whistleblowers.org.

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