All illicit trade statistics listed is collected from open source materials such as news articles, law enforcement and security agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic studies. Every data point about the black market is listed with the original source. The information is organized by products, countries, categories, and prices when available.
According to the Chairman of the Pharma Bureau in Pakistan, the pharmaceutical market in the country is worth $2 Billion year. Out of the total legitimate market, counterfeit drugs is estimated to take up to 15 percent of the market, or $300 Million a year.
The 15 percent estimate of fake drugs in Pakistan by industry representatives is lower than the 30 to 40 percent estimate given by the World Health Organization in 2012.
Source: Farhan Zaheer, “Country badly needs a study to assess threat from fake drugs,” Express Tribune, May 20, 2013.
Police in Central and East China broke up a counterfeit condom production ring that had 4.65 million fake condoms already packaged and ready for shipment. Police also found an additional 1,100 pounds of unpackaged counterfeit condoms at the warehouse.
The factory could produce up to 20,000 counterfeit condoms each day. The cost of produce one fake condom was $0.03 (0.17 Chinese Yuan), which would be sold for $0.16 (1 Yuan).
Health officials in China said that the condoms were poor quality and was prone to break during sexual activity.
Source: Kaijing Xiao, “Counterfeit Condom Ring Busted and Millions of Contraceptives Confiscated,” ABC News, May 15, 2013.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested over 950 people for human trafficking crimes in 2012. The agency also rescued around 300 human trafficking victims and assisted in over 380 successful convictions of human traffickers. Back in 2010, the agency assisted in 144 human trafficking convictions.
Source: AFP, “US seeking to stamp out ‘evil’ of human trafficking,” Google News, May 17, 2013.
Police in Brazil broke up a human smuggling ring in the federal capital of Brasilia. 80 people from Bangladesh paid smugglers up to $10,000 per person to be illegally smuggled into Brazil.
Authorities in Brazil report an increase in human smuggling activities. With Brazil being South America’s largest economy, many migrants for other countries are illegally entering the country though smuggling routes through Peru and Bolivia.
(More fees charged by human smugglers here.)
Source: Shobhan Saxena, “Brazil launches biggest military operation to check drugs, human trafficking,” Times of India, May 18, 2013.
Italian mafia organization ‘Ndrangheta is believed to control up to 80 percent of Europe’s cocaine imports.
Source: Tristan Dessert, “In the footsteps of the ‘Ndrangheta, the most powerful branch of Italian mafia,” Franc 24, May17, 2013.
M67 grenades that were supplied to Central America during the cold war has ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Agents with the United States Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives (ATF) have traced grenades from the United States that were originally sent to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Between 1980 and 1993, around 260,000 M67 grenades were sent from the United States to El Salvador.
Many of these grenades are now being sold on the black market in Mexico. According to author Ioan Grillo, the grenades are being sold to the drug cartels for $100 to $500 per grenade.
Source: Ioan Grillo, El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency, Bloomsbury Press: New York, 2012, page 217.
Teenagers in the Mexican City of Ciuadad Juarez are paid about $85 (1,000 Mexican Pesos) by drug cartels to carry out assassinations and murders on their behalf.
There have also been reports of minors in Mexico being paid up to $1,000 for working two weeks for the cartels.
(See more contract killing prices.)
Source: Ioan Grillo, El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency, Bloomsbury Press: New York, 2012, page 165.
A professional hitman working in Colombia was interviewed by journalist Ioan Grillo in his book, El Narco. The contract killer said that he is paid a base salary of $600 a month by an organized crime group. When the assassin is assigned a hit, he is paid between $2,000 to $4,000 to carry out the murder.
The assassin works in a squad where one team is on a bike and another driving in a car. On the bike, there is a drive and the shooter riding behind. The target is stopped by the car braking in front of it, while the bike pulls up next to it to carry out the hit. The shooter then immediately passes the gun to the driver of the car, where it is hidden in a secret compartment.
Source: Ioan Grillo, El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency, Bloomsbury Press: New York, 2012, page 158-159.
Around 25 percent of all alcohol consumed in Europe is estimated to have been sold on the informal market. This includes alcohol sold on the black market without the payment of taxes, counterfeit alcohol, and home-brewed alcohol.
Source: Marjana Martinic, “Europe’s accidental promotion of black-market alcohol,” EurActiv, May 17, 2013.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency broke up a criminal ring that was selling counterfeit erectile dysfunction drugs in the country. The ring would buy fake Viagra from producers in China for $0.06 (70 South Korean Won) per tablet. They would then resell the counterfeit drugs to men in South Korea for $0.81 to $0.90 (900 to 1,000 Won) per tablet.
The price of legitimate Viagra made by Pfizer and sold at pharmacies in South Korea normally cost between $16.15 to $17.94 (18,000 Won to 20,000 Won) per tablet.
Source: Yonhap, “Nine nabbed for smuggling fake Viagra from China,” Yonhap News, May 15, 2013.