On Tuesday, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs convened a panel discussion to examine the effects of transnational wildlife trafficking on U.S. security. During the hearing, Members of Congress and panelists discussed methods to combat and report cases of illegal ivory trade and wildlife trafficking. Specifically, panelists brought up efforts by the National Whistleblower Center to expose wildlife crime on social media platforms like Facebook.
THE HAGUE / WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 24th, 2018 — The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) and National Whistleblower Center (NWC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a framework for cooperation, develop joint endeavors, and exchange information with regards to transnational wildlife crime.
Members of Congress are urging the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the illegal trafficking of wildlife on Facebook. On May 14th, Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ) and Jared Huffman (CA) filed a letter to the SEC saying that Facebook was breaking laws that require public companies to protect shareholders and prevent illegal activity. The letter demanded an investigation into the illegal wildlife trafficking on Facebook.
D.C.-based law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto (KKC) sparked the Congressional inquiry after filing a complaint with the SEC alleging the social media giant facilitates illicit trade in wildlife products. KKC previously filed the anonymous complaint against Facebook in August 2017.
On May 8, 2018, Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and Don Young (R-AK), introduced H.R. 5697, the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act (WCATA) of 2018. The bipartisan bill will “support wildlife conservation, improve anti-trafficking enforcement, [and] provide dedicated funding for wildlife conservation at no expense to the taxpayer.” It includes critical whistleblower provisions necessary to incentivize informants to risk their careers (or their lives) to report trafficking.
In a series of blog posts over the next several weeks, the National Whistleblower Center will explain why this bill is so crucial for preserving wildlife and such a powerful tool for combatting international criminal syndicates.
We will begin this series by explaining why this bill is necessary. In future posts, we’ll explain why H.R. 5697 “is the most important anti-trafficking legislation of our generation.” For the remainder of this post though, we’ll look at the catastrophic problem that this bill is seeking to fix: the extinction of many of the globe’s most treasured living creatures.
National Whistleblower Center featured in ABC News, New York Post & more
Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, Stephen M. Kohn, has spoken to ABC News investigative reporters recently about a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint filed against Facebook by D.C. whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto (KKC).
Bill contains whistleblower protections, enhanced enforcement and restitution provisions
WASHINGTON, D.C. | MAY 8, 2018 — Today, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018. This groundbreaking legislation enhances the ability of informants worldwide to detect and report wildlife crimes.
To learn more about the bill, visit the National Whistleblower Center’s website.
Whistleblower Law Expert Responds to GAO Report on Combating Wildlife Trafficking
Washington, D.C. May 8, 2018. In a report released today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued wide-ranging recommendations to increase the effectiveness of paying informants and whistleblowers to report illegal wildlife trafficking. Continue Reading U.S. Government Accountability Office Urges Federal Government to Take Stronger Action to Promote Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
News outlets around the United States have picked up and expanded upon an Associated Press story about the whistleblower complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lodged against Facebook. The story has been published in news sources in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
In his testimony before Congress last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received tough questions from members of Congress about wildlife trafficking and the illegal ivory trade on his two-billion user social media site.
At the Joint Senate Committee Hearing, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) referenced a recent Time article examining illicit wildlife crime on Facebook, stating, “wildlife traffickers are continuing to use Facebook tools to advertise illegal sales of protected animal parts.” Zuckerberg responded, “we’re going to have more than 20,000 people at the company working on security and content review.”
An AP news story reports that an anonymous whistleblower has filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging that Facebook is facilitating and profiting from illegal wildlife trafficking on its social media platform. The anonymous whistleblower’s attorneys at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, LLP, (KKC) issued a press release and statements from the whistleblower. The full press release can be read here.