UN says virtually every country in the world plays a role either as a source, transit or destination for the trade.
Crimes involving wildlife have increased dramatically over the past few years.
The World Wildlife Fund says these crimes are the fifth most profitable illicit trade in the world – estimated to be worth $10bn a year.
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Now for the first time, the UN has produced a global report on the problem. It says virtually every country in the world plays a role either as a source, transit or destination for illegal wildlife trade.
Suspected traffickers represent about 80 different nationalities, it says.
The report says illegally acquired animals are being sold in legal markets – and much of the time the buyer is unaware.
And it says that without international regulation, it is difficult to prevent illegally acquired wildlife from being traded once goods leave their home harbour.
Who is gaining from this illegal trade?
Presenter: Laura Kyle
Ted Leggett – senior research officer on crime and criminal justice at the UNODC
Debbie Banks – lead campaigner for tigers and wildlife crime at the Environmental Investigation Agency
Ofir Drori – founding director of the advocacy and law enforcement group EAGLE