AWF Supports US State Department Visa Restrictions on Illegal Wildlife Traffickers

AWF Supports US State Department Visa Restrictions on Illegal Wildlife Traffickers

Press Release

AWF Supports US State Department Visa Restrictions on Illegal Wildlife Traffickers

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Forest Elephants in the DRC

NAIROBI, KENYA AND WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 14, 2021) – The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) announced today that it backs a U.S. State Department move to impose Visa Restrictions on eight Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) nationals, who are known to be involved in trafficking illegal wildlife, wildlife parts, and products. The move comes amidst US efforts to prioritize illegal wildlife trafficking (IWT) as a serious transnational crime that threatens national security, and to protect human health from the spread of zoonotic disease.

AWF applauds this proactive step by the Biden administration, in coordination with DRC agencies, to attack wildlife trafficking networks in Africa and help put an end to IWT globally.

AWF Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program Director Didi Wamukoya, based in Nairobi, Kenya, said: “This is an important move by the US to demotivate traffickers from using proceeds of crime to immigrate and settle and/or buy property in the USA. Criminals have too much freedom to travel across borders and conduct illegal trade of wildlife parts and products. Visa Restrictions can and should be used more widely to crack down on IWT.”

AWF Global Leadership Director Edwin Tambara, based in Washington, D.C., said: “The U.S. State Department is wisely using all of the tools at its disposal to go after wildlife trafficking networks. This is a positive development. We need to cast a net on the movement of the kingpins and prevent them from entering America and other foreign countries as well.”

The U.S. State Department executed the Visa Restrictions under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which in one section provides authority to restrict wildlife and timber traffickers. Read the full State Department press release here.

About African Wildlife Foundation

African Wildlife Foundation launched a series of events in October 2021 celebrating its 60th Anniversary. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands. AWF is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa.

AWF MEDIA CONTACTS: For interviews and media inquiries contact Wambui Odhiambo of AWF in Nairobi, Kenya at wodhiambo@awf.org or +254 728 886987 or Patrick Mitchell of AWF in Washington, D.C. at pmitchell@awf.org or 202-991-7508.