Episode 63 – Wild Things with Olivia Swaak Goldman

Olivia Swaak Goldman, Stephanie van den Berg, and Janet Anderson recording at the Hague Humanity Hub

It’s happening under the radar, worth an estimated 1 to 2 trillion dollars a year, and decimating biodiversity, but organised wildlife crime is still underinvestigated. To help us understand how these transnational criminal networks operate, and their similarities and differences with our usual war criminals and genocidaires, we invited Olivia Swaak Goldman of the Wildlife Justice Commission

Olivia talks us through the convergence between wildlife crimes and other types of criminal activities, such as drug smuggling and people trafficking. To read more about those linkages read the 2021 Wildlife Justice Commission report. She also explains how governments’ lack of attention to wildlife smuggling makes it one of the safest and most profitable criminal activities for career criminals. 

Recorded on August 19, World Orangutan Day, we also asked Olivia about how the Commission has changed from its early years of naming and shaming in public events designed to put pressure on governments, to instead working with local authorities, using high-quality intelligence and building capacity in investigative skills, which has led to arrests like the Navarra one in Mozambique.  

Olivia stays on topic with her reading suggestions and recommends a book from one of her Supervisory Board members, journalist, Misha Glenny – McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld.

This podcast has been produced as part of a partnership with JusticeInfo.net, an independent website in French and English covering justice initiatives in countries dealing with serious violence. It is a media outlet of Fondation Hirondelle, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.