The U.S. Department of State submitted the fourth annual report to Congress as required by the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016 (the END Wildlife Trafficking Act). Wildlife trafficking is a serious transnational crime that threatens security, economic prosperity, the rule of law, long-standing conservation efforts, and human health. In Executive Order 13773, President Trump called for a comprehensive and decisive approach to dismantle organized crime syndicates, specifically recognizing the connection between wildlife trafficking and transnational criminal organizations. The U.S. government’s three-pronged approach to combating wildlife trafficking — strengthening law enforcement, reducing demand, and building international cooperation — deprives criminals of a key source of financing and reduces the threat to U.S. citizens.
The END Wildlife Trafficking Act directs the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce, to submit to Congress a report that lists Focus Countries and Countries of Concern, as defined in the Act. Each Focus Country is a major source, transit point, or consumer of wildlife trafficking products or their derivatives. Identification as a Focus Country is neither a positive nor a negative designation. A Country of Concern is defined as a Focus Country whose government has actively engaged in or knowingly profited from the trafficking of endangered or threatened species. Many Focus Countries have already taken significant steps to combat wildlife trafficking, including in partnership with the United States. The United States looks forward to a continued dialogue with Focus Countries and Countries of Concern to thwart transnational organized crime engaged in wildlife trafficking.