Trading Faces: A snapshot of the online ivory trade in Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam with an update in 2019

Ivory trade is rife on social media in Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam says a TRAFFIC study which found thousands of ivory items in trade during a month in 2016, and in a 2019 update. The study recorded 8,508 items ranging from elephant tusk tips to jewellery and decorative items offered for sale in 1,559 Facebook and Instagram posts across the three countries over 25 days from June to July 2016. The study then recorded a total of 2,489 ivory items for sale in 545 posts across the three target countries in a snapshot assessment over just five days in July 2019. The same 120 Facebook and Instagram groups were monitored during both surveys. However, only 69 were still active in 2019 with the rest having closed down since the first survey in 2016. The study found a significantly higher weekly average of both posts and ivory items for sale in Indonesia and Thailand in 2019. Only Viet Nam recorded a decrease in their weekly average posts and products in 2019. Overall, researchers found the weekly average number of items rose 46.3% and for posts by 74.8% in 2019, compared to 2016.