Corruption and Wildlife Trafficking: Three Case Studies Involving Asia

Tanya Wyatt, Kelly Johnson, Laura Hunter, Ryan George, Rachel Gunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


As wildlife trafficking or the illegal wildlife trade has taken a more prominent place on the global agenda, discussions are taking place as to how wildlife trafficking happens. An increased understanding has revealed that corruption is a key facilitator of this profitable and pervasive global black market, but limited research has explored exactly what that corruption looks like and how corruption enables wildlife to be trafficked. Furthermore, research shows that Asia, particularly China and Southeast Asia, are focal points for the supply and demand of certain species of wildlife. Through a literature-based investigation, this paper unpacks the role specific acts of corruption play in the trafficking of ivory, reptile skins and live reptiles from, through or to Asia. It is proposed that not only do individual corrupt acts enable wildlife trafficking to happen, but also that corrupted structures (the criminal justice system, and economic and political foundations) in some societies enable trafficking to happen and also increase the resilience of trafficking to reduction measures. In collating detailed data about the forms of corruption facilitating wildlife trafficking, the gaps in knowledge, and therefore the important areas for further research, become evident.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-55
JournalAsian Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Early online date15 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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