The researchers recommend targeted interventions that would focus on reducing the demand, strengthening law enforcement action on the surface web, and improving social media policy.
Ulhas Gondhali, Lecturer, Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India; Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY), New York, USA.
Gohar A. Petrossian, Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY), New York, USA.
This study investigates the consumer markets and the role of YouTube as a driver of the trade of traditional medicines derived from spiny-tailed lizard. This research identified and analyzed 183 videos, 4240 comments, and associated content from YouTube. A systematic analysis of implicit and explicit content of the video and comments provides important insights into the modus operandi of the illegal trade, consumer markets, and users’ responses and reactions to the content related to medicinal products containing spiny-tailed lizard fat. Up to 3/4th of the analyzed videos offered spiny-tailed lizard-based medicinal products for sale, and the majority of the videos aimed at reinforcing the authenticity of these products by providing detailed records of hunting and fat extraction.
The majority of the commenters interacting with the videos expressed a ‘willingness to buy’ the offered products, showing the level of awareness they have about where to access this information to inquire, confirm, and potentially purchase the medicinal product. The geotagged comments shed light on the potential flows and volumes of spiny-tailed lizard medicinal products traded between the source (Pakistan) and major demand countries. Based on the findings of this research, we recommend targeted interventions that would focus on reducing the demand, strengthening law enforcement action on the surface web, and improving social media policy.
Published in: Forensic Science International: Animals and Environments
To read the full article, please click here.