Published 18 July 2022


ACAMS and TRAFFIC Advance Ending Illegal Wildlife Trade Training Efforts in China

Training certificate in Simplified Chinese for anti-financial crime professionals on how to identify and investigate illicit proceeds linked to the IWT features new case studies on ivory, timber, and wildlife trafficking

In a major boost to the global fight against criminal syndicates engaged in the illicit trafficking of flora and fauna, ACAMS has partnered with TRAFFIC to launch a Simplified Chinese (SCH) version of its free-of-charge Ending Illegal Wildlife Trade: A Comprehensive Overview certificate.

The original certificate launched in 2020, developed by ACAMS and The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), with the support of the Basel Institute on Governance, United for Wildlife and the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, trains anti-financial crime (AFC) professionals on how to identify and investigate signs of an estimated $23 billion in illicit proceeds generated annually by criminals engaged in the illegal wildlife trade (IWT). The version launched today includes China-specific case studies.

In addition to outlining the complex methodologies used to circumvent import-export laws and anti-money laundering (AML) controls of financial institutions, the SCH version of the certificate features new case studies highlighting recent ivory, timber, and wildlife-trafficking investigations in Thailand, Tanzania, and China.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has focused on money laundering linked to environmental crime since 2019, concluded in a June 2020 report that IWT is a “major transnational organised crime” that fuels corruption, threatens biodiversity, and undermines the integrity of the financial system sector by exploiting banks and other institutions. Despite such concerns, nations rarely investigate the financial trail left by IWT syndicates, FATF noted.

“Wildlife trafficking networks are international by nature, and their illicit proceeds often flow through accounts held for front and shell companies across multiple jurisdictions,” said ACAMS CEO Scott Liles. “That’s why it’s critical that AFC professionals in Asia and other parts of the globe understand how to identify, report, and mitigate the risks associated with IWT schemes.”

“We’re proud that our continued partnership with WWF and now TRAFFIC has enabled us to not only to offer a Simplified Chinese version of our original IWT certificate but also to expand its scope with new content,” he said. “No jurisdiction is immune to this transnational crime that threatens our ecosystem while undercutting efforts to protect the financial system.”

“While traffickers smuggle wildlife from country to country, continent to continent, they exploit legitimate financial services to transfer proceeds of this multibillion-dollar crime internationally. Combating illegal wildlife trade through anti-money laundering measures is an innovative yet fairly new approach in China, even globally. Financial institutions undoubtedly play a significant role in exposing and interrupting the financial flow of wildlife crime,” said TRAFFIC China Director Ling XU.

“The ACAMS and TRAFFIC-led Simplified Chinese version of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Certificate Program will go a long way towards bridging the gaps in awareness in the financial systems that these criminals exploit to move, hide, and launder the proceeds of the illegal trade in wildlife. Through public-private partnerships and professional education, we can make a dent in the illegal financial flows associated with wildlife trafficking”, said Dr Eric Wikramanayake, Lead of WWF’s Asia Pacific Counter-Illegal Wildlife Trade Hub.

Now available in two languages, the Ending Illegal Wildlife Trade: A Comprehensive Overview certificate is one of five free social-impact programs launched by ACAMS since 2020, and the first of three designed to help AFC professionals identify IWT-related activity.

The Simplified Chinese translation of the certificate can be accessed via the ACAMS Learning Management System here.

About ACAMS®

ACAMS is the largest international membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities for anti-financial crime (AFC) education, best practices, and peer-to-peer networking to AFC professionals globally. With over 90,000 members across 180 jurisdictions, ACAMS is committed to the mission of ending financial crime through the provision of anti-money laundering/counterterrorism-financing and sanctions knowledge-sharing, thought leadership, risk-mitigation services, ESG initiatives, and platforms for public-private dialogue. The association’s CAMS certification is the gold-standard qualification for AFC professionals, while the CGSS certification is its premier specialist qualification for sanctions professionals. ACAMS’ 60 Chapters globally further amplify the association’s mission through training and networking initiatives. Visit for more information.

About WWF Hong Kong

WWF is a leading global conservation organisation, with a network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. WWF-Hong Kong has been working since 1981 to deliver solutions for a living planet through conservation, footprint and education programmes, with the aim of transforming Hong Kong into Asia’s most sustainable city. For more information, please visit: