Victims and Harms Suffered
The victims in our cases studies are humans and wildlife alike. The psychological (see especially Chap. 3) and physical harm inflicted on humans and animals alike can be severe. In the case of animals, illegal fishing and poaching/trafficking has already led to the extinction of entire species. Furthermore, environmental crime might not only deprive animals of their habitat but also humans of their anthropo- sphere. Less severe, but still economically harmful, is environmental crime that deprives people of their sources of income. For instance, the Armenian mining industry destroys pristine environments, leading to a decline in tourism (Chap. 8). Yet many instances of environmental crime cause more than just material damages. They lead to ailment and even deaths, as humans are exposed to toxic material in soil, air, and water. As the case study of e-waste shipments from Europe to China
shows (Chap. 5), it is often disenfranchised groups that suffer most from environmental crime in addition to the discrimination they already experience due their social, ethnic, religious, or other distinguishing status.
As Eileen Skinnider (2013, p. 1) argues, victims of environmental harm are not widely recognized as victims of crime. In part this is due to the perception of environmental crime as ‘victimless’ (Korsell 2001) but also because environmental harm does ‘not always produce an immediate consequence and the harm may be diffused or go undetected for a lengthy period of time’ (Skinnider 2011, p. 2) and because governments, industry, and in some cases, particular communities and society as a whole condone environmentally harmful activities (White 2015). The effects of a single offense may not appear severe in the short-term, but the cumulative impact of repeated violations in the long run can be irreparable, such as the exploitation of resources from mining and the extinction of species. This implies that society is often unaware of its victims, especially if their voices are not heard (animals, disadvantaged groups, children). Moreover, regulators may not set levels of enforcement effort and compensation properly.