The District Attorney’s office in San Diego county prosecuted 35 human trafficking cases in 2013. In those cases, 43 defendants were charged with human trafficking, and 50 victims were identified by police. 9 of the trafficking victims were minors.

The number of human trafficking cases prosecuted by officials in San Diego has increased in recent years. Back in 2009, the District Attorney’s office prosecuted 9 trafficking cases.

(Prices of human trafficking victims when sold.)

Source:  Dana LIttlefield, “DA sees spike in sex-trafficking prosecutions,” UT San Diego, January 10, 2014.

A survey of 2,400 drug injecting users in Australia found that the taking of performance enhancing drugs increased sharply amongst young men in the country.

74 percent of people in New South Wales who started injecting drugs into their bodies injected performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) in 2013.  In 2003, the number who started with PIEDs was 27 percent. Most of the PIEDs injected were steroids and are driven by young men.

While steroids use has increased, the rate of new meth injectors has declined. Back in 2006, up to 50 percent of new meth users by males injected the drug. In 2013, the rate of new injection rates for meth for men decreased to 11 percent.

(How much does a gram of meth cost?)

Source:  “Steroids now the drug of choice for young men”, 9 News, January 10, 2014.

(Prescription drug abuse statistics and information.)

According to statistics collected by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 2,360 migrants died while attempting to cross borders around the world in 2013.

For sea-based crossing by boats, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, and the waters surrounding Indonesia and Thailand saw a number of deaths of migrants attempting to cross borders.

For land-based traveling, the border between Mexico and the United States and the desert between West Africa and Libya were also considered to be dangerous routes for migrants.

The value of the black market in human smuggling was estimated to be worth $35 Billion a year industry, according to the IOM. This figure is higher than the previously $20 Billion estimate made in 2009.

Source:  “It’s Time to Take Action and Save Lives of Migrants Caught in Crisis,” International Organization for Migration, Press Release, December 17, 2013.

In 2013, officers with various criminal justice programs in Australia charged 173 visitors of inmates with crimes for attempting to smuggling contraband into prisons. Nearly 600 people were additionally refused entry into the prison after being discovered to be carrying contraband. Most of the visitors who were charged or denied entry were women. The Commissioner of the Prison System stated that women are often pressured by their fathers, husbands, boyfriends or sons to bring in contraband when visiting.

Items prevented from entering the prisons included a total of 323 grans of marijuana, 1063 unidentified tablets, and 213 grams of unidentified powder.

In total, over 97,000 searchers were carried out by correction officers at NSW prisons in 2013.

Some of the methods of the attempted smuggling cases involved cutting out an encyclopedia to fill with drugs, filling a squash ball with marijuana and throwing the ball over the prison fence, and filling a balloon with tablets and hiding the balloon in a bra.

(More black market smuggling markets.)

Source:  Mark Morri, “Bring daddy his drugs: Smuggling crackdown in NSW prisons, as loved ones bring items in,” Telegraph Australia, January 8, 2014.

During a four-day period at the beginning of 2014, web site Yahoo reported that malware had infected its ads for the purpose of mining bitcoins.

Bitcoin mining is the process of using computer processing to generate and create more bitcoins. When a computer is able to properly guess 25 figures,  a new bitcoin is created.

Due to the high valuation of bitcoins at the start of 2014, cyber criminals have begun spreading malware in order to mine bitcoins. The malware installs a program on an infected computer to use its processing power. The user of the computer generally does not know that the computer is mining for bitcoins, but may notice that the computer is running a little slower.

The infected ads on Yahoo affected users in Europe. According to a cybersecurity firm, there were around 27,000 infections of bitcoin malware for every hour that the ads were being displayed on Yahoo. Up to two million computers could have been infected with the malware.

(Price to dox someone and other cyber threats.)

Source:  Jane Wakefield, “Yahoo malware enslaves PCs to Bitcoin mining,” BBC News, January 8, 2014.

In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service conducted 1,492 criminal investigations for identity theft in the United States. The number of investigations was an increase of 66 percent from 2012.

436 people were sentenced in court for identity theft cases involving tax returns in 2013.

14.6 million tax returns were flagged by the agency for being suspicious between 2011 and 2013. In total, the return flagged as suspicious blocked over $50 Billion in fraudulent tax returns.

In 2012, a total of $4 billion of fraudulent tax returns were issued to people who used stolen identities. The number lost in 2012 was slightly higher than the $3.6 Billion issued in 2011.

The way the scam works is that identity thieves use a person’s social security number to file tax returns early in the filing season. By quickly filing the returns, the thieves can claim refunds before the taxpayer can file. Since the IRS issues most refunds within 3 weeks, the thieves are able to get the tax refund before the legitimate taxpayer is able to file.

Source: Associated Press, “IRS: Identity theft prosecutions double in 2013,” CNBC, January 8, 2014.

In 2012, an estimated $18 billion was lost to the Colombian government due to various types of money laundering activities, according to the Financial Information and Analysis Unit.

The amount of money lost in Colombia due to laundering was higher than the total amount of money that was invested into Colombia by foreign entities. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, $15.2 Billion of foreign investment funds was directed to Colombia in 2012.

Colombia has a long history of money laundering due to its drug trafficking industry. When cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar was killed by Colombian security service agents in 1993, it was estimated that he had a $30 Billion in assets.

(Additional examples of money laundering cases worldwide.)

Source:  Ernesto Suarez Gomez, “The tangled web of money laundering,” Infosurhoy, January 7, 2014.

According to the International Labor Organization, sex workers in the major cities of Thailand send an estimated $300 Million a year of their earnings back home to their families in rural areas. The amount of money that is sent back home to rural areas by the prostitutes is more money than any form of government development project.

The sex industry in Thailand is estimated to generate $6.4 Billion  a year and employs between 200,000 t0 300,000 women.

(Number of prostitutes worldwide.)

Source:  Religion News Service, “In Thailand, US evangelicals work to end prostitution,” Washington Post, January 6, 2014.

Data from the Wildlife Protection Society of India shows that 48 tigers were killed by poachers in India in 2013. The number of tigers killed was higher than the 32 tigers poached in 2012.

Officials with wildlife charities state that demand for traditional medicine in China is behind the recent rise in tiger poaching in India. Despite the incrase in poaching, the Bengal tiger population in India has been rising due to increase protection efforts. Back in 2008, there were 1,411 tigers in India. In the last official census, there were 1,706 tigers.

(More wildlife trafficking statistics.)

There are around 2,500 Bengal tigers around the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

(Illegal wildlife trade prices.)

Source:  Kenneth Rapoza, “Chinese Health Nuts ‘Biggest Threat’ To India’s Bengal Tigers,” Forbes, January 5, 2014.

According to wildlife charities, nearly 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers. The poachers kill the elephants in order to cut off the elephant’s tusks. Ivory tusks with elaborate carvings on them can be sold for up to $3,000 per kilogram on the global black market.

70 percent of the demand for ivory is centered in China.

In 1980, there were 1.2 million elephants in Africa. At the start of 2014, due to poaching, wildlife officials estimate that there are around 500,000 elephants remaining.

(Prices of exotic animals for sale)

Source:  Sophie Brown and Susan Wang, “China crushes tons of illegal ivory,” CNN, January 6, 2014.

(See more information about elephant poaching.)