In 2011, authorities in the European Union seized 2.1 million counterfeit toys. According to a breakdown by Toy News, five countries in the EU accounted for 57 percent of those seizures.
Top five EU member states where fake toys were seized in 2011:
1. Romania: 319,174 counterfeit toys seized.
2. Germany: 308,506 counterfeit toys seized.
3. France: 212,273 counterfeit toys seized.
4. Spain: 193,149 counterfeit toys seized.
5. Bulgaria: 181,838 counterfeit toys seized.
Source: Dominic Sacco, “Romania is counterfeit toy capital of Europe,” Toy News, April 18, 2013.
An anti-trafficking organization reported that three out of four prostitutes working in the red light district of Amsterdam were from economically distressed communities. Not-for-Sale stated at a conference on women’s rights that 75 percent of the women came from poor communities in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
Source: Belinda Goldsmith, “Younger girls forced into prostitution in economic crisis: conference,” Reuters, December 5, 2012.
The Bulgarian Customs Agency reported that the 15 percent of all cigarettes sold in Bulgaria in 2012 were sold on the black market as smuggled cigarettes. The number of cigarettes sold in the country that avoided taxes was down from 30 percent in 2010.
44 percent of the Bulgaria’s 7.4 million population smoke cigarettes.
Source: AFP, “Contraband cigarettes smuggled in coffins in Bulgaria,” Google News, November 13, 2012.
Authorities in Bulgaria reported rescuing 550 victims of human trafficking in the country in 2011. In the first half of the year, 313 victims were found.
In total, the human trafficking market in Bulgaria generates $1.5 Billion in revenue and has between 8,000 to 12,00 victims.
Source: “550 Human Trafficking Victims Registered in Bulgaria in 2011,” novinite.com, July 13, 2012.
According to a report by the Center for the Study of Democracy, organized crime in Bulgaria generate $2.2 Billion (1.7 Billion Euros) in revenue each year.
The black market is estimated to be about 4.7% of the country’s GDP.
The largest black market in Bulgaria is reported to be the prostitution industry, with $845 Million (1.26 Billion Bulgarian Lev) in revenue.
Source: “Bulgaria’s Organized Crime Makes BGN 3.5 B Annually, Stable – NGO,” Sofia News, novinite.com, April 3, 2012.
Customs officials in Bulgaria reported that cigarette smuggling activities in the country dropped by 20 percent in 2011.
At the end of the year, illegal cigarettes consisted of 20 percent of all cigarettes and tobacco sold within Bulgaria.
Source: “Bulgaria Customs Brags Cigarette Smuggling Down 20%,” Sofia News, January 6, 2012.
The Interior Minister of Bulgaria reported that there were 313 human trafficking victims were identified within the country in the first six months of 2011. The government convicted 64 people for human trafficking during the time period.
Source: “13 victims of human trafficking, 64 convicted: report,” Focus, November 25, 2011.
Between 2000 and 2009, over 50 kilograms of caviar was estimated to have been smuggled out of Bulgaria and Romania, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Source: “WWF Report Sounds Warning On Caviar,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, November 14, 2011.
The Bulgarian National Revenue Agency stated that the country losses up to $500 Million (750 Million Bulgarian Lev) a year to value added tax (VAT) fraud.
Between 2005 and 2009, an estimated $2.2 Billion (3 Billion Bulgarian Lev) in VAT revenue was lost within Bulgaria.
Most of the tax revenue fraud was in the wholesale trade in oil and grains.
Source: “VAT fraud costing Bulgaria billions,”Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), August 10, 2011.
Over 51 percent of taxable economic activity in Italy is undeclared, according to the Association of Italian Taxpayers.
Italy was ranked first in tax evasion in the European Union, followed by Romania with 42 percent evading taxes and Bulgaria with 38 percent.
Internet shopping companies in Italy consist of a large portion of the tax evasion. Out of the over 2 million internet firms registered in Italy, only 800,000 firms pay taxes.
The losses in Italy to Internet tax evasion is estimated to be $4.2 Billion (3 Billion Euros) a year.
Source: “Bulgaria Ranks 3rd in EU in Tax Evasion – Italian Poll,” Sophia News Agency, August 1, 2011.