“The reality is that the highest penalty that we know is between five months and three years, and usually just a few million rupiahs,” Sanchez said. “In my knowledge, never anything over 10 million rupiah [$740].”
Because of the relatively mild punishment, there is a high rate of recidivism among wildlife traffickers. “We don’t really believe the punishment is in accordance with the crime,” Sanchez said.
She believes the problem won’t be solved until social media sites block these traffickers altogether.
In response to TRAFFIC’s report on social media trafficking in Malaysia, Facebook released this statement: “We are committed to working with TRAFFIC to help tackle the illegal online trade of wildlife in Malaysia. Facebook does not allow the sale and trade of endangered animals and we will not hesitate to remove any content that violates our Terms of Service.”
Despite that statement, getting Facebook to cooperate hasn’t been so easy, Sanchez said. “Facebook and Instagram have to start taking a role combatting the wildlife trade because it’s an illegal activity,” she explained. “We find it extremely difficult for [us to get Facebook and Instagram] to respond to our claims or to delete these postings.”