A World Free of Wildlife Trafficking and Human Slavery
Innovate, develop, and continually improve programs and tools that empower governments and civil society to overcome organized crime and corruption to restore secure, resilient communities and ecosystems.
Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar illegal trade and is one of the most lucrative and illicit markets in the world after drugs, human trafficking and arms. Combined with habitat loss, it is driving many species towards extinction.
Putting an end to unchecked nature crime is important, not only because it ravages biodiversity, but also because the knock-on effects can unravel entire ecosystems and put human lives in danger. The loss of important watersheds and carbon sinks, for example, endangers human health and food security.
Human trafficking targets vulnerable people for labor and sexual exploitation, destroying lives and tearing families apart. A compassionate world is a world free of slavery.
Freeland is a frontline counter-trafficking organization working for a world that is free of wildlife trafficking and human slavery. Our team of law enforcement, development and communications specialists work alongside partners in Asia, Africa and the Americas to build capacity, raise awareness, and promote good governance to protect critical ecosystems and vulnerable people.
Freeland was formed in 2002 and grew out of Global Survival Network (GSN) and WildAid. GSN addressed global security issues before it became WildAid, which narrowed its focus to endangered species conservation. Freeland now partners with all conservation, security, and human rights organizations to protect vulnerable people and wildlife from organized crime and corruption. The founders of GSN were Steve Galster and Mike Mitchell. Galster was also a co-founder of WildAid, founder of Freeland, and is currently on the Board of Freeland.
Combating Crimes against Nature and Humanity
At Freeland, we help reduce human and wildlife trafficking by providing training and technical assistance to police, customs and environmental agencies. We train and assist them to combat poaching, illegal logging, enslavement and criminal exploitation of vulnerable people. Freeland is also helping governments form task forces, and facilitate cross-border inter-agency cooperation and civil society action.
Creating Sustainable Communities
Freeland has found one of the major drivers of both human and wildlife trafficking is poverty. Freeland helps vulnerable rural communities develop plant nurseries, fish and mushroom farms, renewable energy sources and reforestation projects. This makes a real difference to people’s lives, while simultaneously reducing the pressure on ecosystems.
Reducing Consumer Demand
Freeland and our partners use extensive media, advertising, and private sector engagement to support campaigns in China, Thailand and Vietnam to help reduce the consumption of protected wildlife. We assess the results of the campaigns to determine how to best effect changes in people’s behavior regarding consumption of wildlife products.
Promoting Regional Cooperation
Regional events include investigation meetings, training courses, and partner meeting through which officers and partners from South Asia, China and Africa learn from each other, exchange information, intelligence, and best practices enabling evidence-based approach to improve joint efforts.