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Journal Article

Security Coordination in an Illegal Market: The Transnational Trade in Rhinoceros Horn


Hübschle,  Annette
Soziologie des Marktes, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;
Environmental Security Observatory, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa;

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Hübschle, A. (2016). Security Coordination in an Illegal Market: The Transnational Trade in Rhinoceros Horn. Politikon, 43(2), 193-214. doi:10.1080/02589346.2016.1201377.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-0FB6-F
Anti-poaching measures, regulatory interventions and demand reduction campaigns have been instituted to curb the flow of illegal wildlife contraband. While these measures are laudable, they appear to achieve limited success in disrupting illegal wildlife markets. Using the example of the illegal market in rhinoceros horn, this article focuses on security coordinating mechanisms that render illegal transnational flows of rhino horn resilient and difficult to disrupt. While analyses of legal or formal markets focus on the coordination problems of value, cooperation and competition, it is argued here that the need to exercise caution and implement a security plan becomes more pressing when transacting in illegal and transnational markets. The paper focuses on security precautions of illegal market actors at the source and en route to consumer markets. The label of ‘organised crime’ is of limited use unless the concept bridges the legal/illegal divide, incorporating actors from the legal and criminal realm. The objective is to highlight the need for a deeper understanding of actors and their relationships to develop regulatory and criminal justice interventions that disrupt illegal markets and transnational flows in the long term.