Until recently, little was known about the illegal trade in wildlife products. For a long time it was commonly believed that only tourists and opportunists were involved
Assistant Professor in Criminology dr. Daan van Uhm took up the challenge of finding out how wildlife trade really functions. He researched the illegal trade in caviar, Barbary macaques and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine, resulting in the recent defence of his PhD thesis.
His findings illustrate how this trade developed into a professional criminal business, on the fertile ground of low priority, weak punishments and high profits. The business has been unperturbed due to long-term priorities in other areas of crime. Subsequently, new players emerged in the market, some of them with other criminal backgrounds, such as involvement in trading drugs.
Dr. Daan van Uhm is Assistant Professor in Criminology at the Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology. He obtained his Master’s degree in Criminology at Utrecht University, where he specialized in Green Crimes with his master’s thesis that focussed on the role of the Netherlands in the international illegal wildlife trade. From 2010 to 2011 he conducted research on deforestation and the illegal timber trade from Burma to the EU, the illegal trade in dogs in the Netherlands and assisted in lawsuits. From 2012-2015, Daan van Uhm worked as a PhD candidate and a Junior Assistant Professor at the Willem Pompe Institute. In 2016, he obtained his PhD at Utrecht University with the thesis entitled 'Uncovering the illegal wildlife trade: inside the world of poachers, smugglers and traders'.