In this episode, I’m talking with Olivia Swaak-Goldman. Olivia is currently the Executive Director of the Wildlife Justice Commission, whose mission is to disrupt and help dismantle the transnational criminal networks trading in wildlife, timber, and fish, by collecting evidence and turning it into accountability. Olivia has 26 years of experience in international justice and diplomacy, has published extensively on issues of international criminal law and international humanitarian law, and served as a lecturer at both Harvard and Leiden Universities.
This conversation is slightly different from the norm. We do dig into the path that brought Olivia to the WJC, and we take a quick overview of the work being done there, but the majority of this talk concerns WJC’s recent release of their Global Threat Assessment on Rhino horn trafficking as a form of transnational organized crime, which covers intelligence and data analysis from 2012–2021. We really go deep on everything from the demand for and value of rhino horn, the supply chain from poacher to retail seller, the impact of looking at the rhino horn trade as a transnational organized crime problem versus as a conservation problem, the impact COVID has had on the trade, why law enforcement and government agencies need to collaborate across borders, and so much more. We hope that this is a valuable introduction to this threat assessment. And if you’re curious, please visit the Wildlife Justice Commissions website and download the entire 111 page document.