The tightening of international sanctions against North Korea is helping to fuel the illicit ivory trade in Africa as the increasingly isolated country searches for new ways to generate revenue, according to a new report from the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. Much of that ivory, according to the report, is destined for the black market in China.
North Korea’s role in the African ivory trade is largely confined to “buying and bagging,” said Julian Rademeyer, the report’s author and an acclaimed South African environmental investigative journalist. North Korean officials, he added, are often able to easily move their illegal contraband as diplomatic cargo so it usually goes unchecked by local customs authorities.
- The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime: Diplomats and Deceit
North Korea’s Criminal Activities in Africa by Julian Rademeyer
- The Financial Times: North Korea said to be revitalising African wildlife trafficking by David Pilling
- The Economist: Africa is a smugglers’ paradise for North Korean diplomats
- BBC: Laos is ‘world’s fastest growing’ ivory market by Alastair Leithead
Julian Rademeyer is an award-winning South African investigative journalist, a senior research fellow with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime and is currently leading a project for TRAFFIC on protection of Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems. Julian is the author of the best-selling book, Killing for Profit – Exposing the illegal rhino horn trade. His two previous reports for the Global Initiative, “Tipping Point: Transnational organised crime and the ‘war’ on poaching” and “Beyond Borders: Crime, conservation and criminal networks in the illicit rhino horn trade” together represent one of the most current and in-depth investigations into the illicit networks enabling the desecration of the rhino species in Southern Africa.