Organized crime groups working in the European Union earn over $1.9 Billion (€1.5 Billion) a year from payment card fraud within the region. The gang members steal information from credit cards, debit cards and ATM cards.
The Associated Press stated that many of these types of criminals are based in Romania. Due to its history under the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania has a strong history in mathematics and coding, and the organized crime groups have tapped into these skills. The AP further stated that students in Romania are often more advanced in mathematics than other students across the EU.
Source: Associated Press, “World Grapples With Rise In Cyber Crime,” NPR, May 11, 2013.
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.
Travel agencies in Romania were accused by prosecutors are being human smuggling rings to bring people into the United States and Canada from Mexico.
The agents would first send Romanians to Mexico due to the lack of visa requirement. From Mexico, the migrants then paid $8,000 in order to be illegally smuggled into the United States or Canada.
According to prosecutors in Romania, around 600 people used the various travel agencies to book flights. 300 of the travelers were found illegally in the United States.
Source: Associated Press, “Romania: Trafficking Ring to US, Canada Broken Up,” ABC News, March 26, 2013.
Police in Romania broke up a human-egg trafficking ring in February 2013. The traffickers would pay Romanian women between $800 to $1,100 (€600 to €800 Euros) for their eggs, and then sell it to couples in Israel for $5,339 (€4,000).
Source: AFP, “Romania busts Israeli human egg-trafficking ring,” Google News, February 19, 2013.
Around 9.7 million packs of cigarettes that were being smuggled were seized by police in Romania in 2012.
30 tobacco smuggling gangs were broken up and over 130 individual smugglers were caught in 2012. 268 stolen cars and vans that were being used in the smuggling was also seized.
Smugglers are able to purchase a pack of rolled cigarettes in Romania for half a Euro and sell it at a higher price in Ukraine and other Western Europe capitals.
Source: Associated Press, “Romania Turns up Heat on Cigarette Smuggling,” ABC News, January 19, 2013.
In the 2012 Fiscal Year, the United States Customs and Border Protection apprehended 901 people from Romania along the US-Mexico border. The number arrested in 2012 was higher than the 575 Romanians apprehended in 20011, and the 384 people caught in 2010.
Law enforcement officials in the United States and Canada reported that the Romanians illegally enter the United States in order to eventually cross into Canada, where they attempt to gain asylum.
Source: Associated Press, “Canada Targets Romanians Smuggling Gypsies,” NPR, December 5, 2012.
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.
Police in Canada uncovered a human smuggling ring in October 2012 that was bringing people from Romania into Canada. The smugglers were charging between $10,000 to $30,000 (10,000 to 30,000 Canadian Dollars) to bring Romanians into Mexico, across the border into Texas, and then up the United States and into Toronto, Canada.
Romanians enter Canada and file for refugee status. In 2007, there were 57 refugee claims by Romanians in Canada. In 2011, the number of claims were up to 258.
Source: Stewart Bell, “Alleged human smuggling ring brought Romanians to Canada via Mexico, police say,” National Post, October 25, 2012.
The United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre has reported that 2,077 potential victims of human trafficking were identified in 2011. The figures were submitted by police agencies, the UK Border Agency and other law enforcement agencies.
Out of the total number of victims, 31 percent were trafficked for sexual exploitation. 22 percent were victims of labor trafficking, 17 percent for various criminal activities, 11 percent for domestic servitude, and 5 percent were trafficked for more than one type of exploitation.In a first case of reporting, 1 percent of the victims (3 people) reported being trafficked for the purpose of their organs being harvested.
13 percent of the victims were unable to be determined.
The most common country of origin of the human trafficking victims were the Czech Republic, Nigeria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
Source: Jamie Doward, “People smugglers target their victims as organ donors and house slaves,” Guardian, August 25, 2012.
According to news reports, the price of a kidney sold on the black market in India is around $1,000 (55,000 Indian Rupees). In India, the prison term for illegally selling a kidney is five years in prison.
In Romania and Moldova, the price to purchase a black market kidney is $2,700. In Turkey, the price of the kidney goes up to $10,000.
See more kidney and organ prices on the black market.
Source: Peter Hummel, “Kidneys on special offer,” Deutsche Welle, July 31, 2012.