By Fiona Rotherham
Sept. 23 (BusinessDesk) – Wynyard Group, the security software firm, says its software is being used to help track down global wildlife trafficking – the fourth-largest illegal trade in the world after drugs, humans and weapons.
Auckland-based Wynyard’s investigative case management software is being used to help the recently-launched, Dutch lottery-funded Wildlife Justice Commission chase organised criminals operating across many borders. Wildlife trafficking is estimated to be worth about US$19 billion annually. In South Africa alone, the number of rhinos killed over the past seven years has risen to 1,251 from 13.
The commission is the second non-government organisation in two weeks that Wynyard has struck deals with. Last week it said its software was being used by not-for-profit Hope for Justice, an organisation dedicated to ending human trafficking and slavery, which is an estimated US$99 billion-a-year trade.
Wynyard chief executive Craig Richardson said the not-for-profit organisations were given a discounted rate because of the nature of their work but fundamentally most of the organisations it dealt with faced the same problems.
“They’re fighting criminal organisations that are large scale, operate across borders, are well-organised, and are involved in low-risk, high-return crime,” he said.
The company has also done pro-bono work with the less well-funded New Zealand-based Nvader, which investigates sex trafficking cases and then takes the evidence it gathers to the authorities to try to bring the traffickers to justice. The Christian organisation estimates only 1 in 100 sex slave victims are rescued annually while women and children enslaved into the sex industry each year number two million.
The Hague-based Wildlife Justice Commission aims to reduce the trafficking of endangered species by holding governments accountable if they fail to take action against, and contribute to, wildlife crime.
Commission director Sam Muller said it was committed to using all available resources to combat organised groups.
“Wynyard’s investigative case management will enable us to work together, share information, connect and search across multiple data sets to discover new lines of inquiry, and ultimately, close cases and investigations faster.”
The commission is currently gathering evidence on two situations involving criminal networks that traffic ivory and rhino horn from Africa to Asia. Once it has gathered and analysed information on crime networks, the commission plans to build cases into a “Map of Facts” to expose key perpetrators. Once these case have been reviewed by an independent Accountability Panel, it will present the “Map of Facts” to the relevant law enforcement authorities.
Richardson said Wynyard puts customers, including NGOs, through a rigorous vetting process before doing work with them to ensure there is no criminal association in the organisation, and its directors and management.
Wynyard accesses a list of 1.5 million “entities not to do business with” shared among government law enforcement agencies that it has added its own research to, he said.
Wynyard shares fell 2.5 percent to $1.16 and have dropped 46 percent in the past 12 months. The stock is rated a ‘buy’, based on two recommendations compiled by Reuters.