Washington D.C., USA. January 21, 2016—The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge program, an initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC, announced today that the National Whistleblower Center’s “Secured Internet Wildlife Crime Reporting System” is one of the Wildlife Crime Challenge prize winners.
Launched in 2014, the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge is finding new, innovative solutions to the most intractable issues in the fight against wildlife trafficking. The award today recognizes the critical role that whistleblowers can play in detecting wildlife crimes and holding criminal smugglers accountable.
USAID will award USD10,000 to each winner and provide technical support to help them advance their solutions to stamp out illegal trade in wildlife. Winners are eligible to compete for a Grand Prize of up to USD 500,000.
The National Whistleblower Center’s project was selected out of a pool of 300 Applicants from 52 countries. Winning innovations include a variety of solutions that address four critical issue areas: detecting and predicting transit routes; strengthening forensic evidence; reducing consumer demand; and addressing corruption. The NWC’s program was selected under the Challenge’s anti-corruption program.
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the NWC, issued the following statement regarding this award:
“Whistleblowers are the key to fighting fraud and corruption. In areas of illegal international banking, foreign bribery, government contract fraud and stock fraud their disclosures have revolutionized the ability of the government to hold fraudsters accountable. Whistleblowers who report illegal logging, fishing, and wildlife trafficking need to know their rights. They need to know how they can effectively report these crimes and qualify for a financial reward. Whistleblowers place their lives and careers at risk when they try to do the right thing. The Challenge award will enable the NWC to inform whistleblowers around the world about their rights and how to best protect themselves when they report illegal wildlife trafficking.”
The “Secure Internet Wildlife Crime Reporting System” is an integral part of the NWC’s campaign to protect wildlife crime whistleblowers. This system will address wildlife trafficking by enabling whistleblowers around the world to safely and anonymously file reports of wildlife crimes to the appropriate authorities, and ensure that these courageous whistleblowers qualify for monetary rewards. The NWC’s campaign seeks to educate whistleblowers globally on how the wildlife whistleblower laws work.