Transnational Crime

Information and statistics about transnational crime. Data about security threats and vulnerabilities from transnational organized crime groups are collected from intelligence agencies, criminal justice programs and other public information sources.

An international enforcement action broke up a child pornography ring in January 2014 that was providing customers with webcam streaming of children committing sex acts. The webcam was based in the Philippines and lead to 29 people being arrested. The investigation spanned across 12 countries and identified 733 suspects. After breaking up the ring, criminal justice programs in the Philippines rescued 15 children between the ages of 6 and 15.

The Souther region of Cebu in the Philippines  has become a hotspot for children engaging on sex acts on webcams. In September 2013, a Filipino couple was arrested for forcing their 3 children to perform on webcams. They were charging customers $100 to view their children.

(More child trafficking statistics here.)

Source:  AFP, “Philippine child webcam abuse ring uncovered in police probe,” Google News, January 16, 2014.

A report by the Associated Press stated that over 10,000 religious artifacts have been stolen over the past 10 years from churches in Macedonia.

It was previously reported that 800 churches and 53 mosques in the country had items taken from their churches.

Among the items stolen were 23 icons created by Dico Zograf, who is one of Macedonia’s most famous painters. Intelligence officials state that Zograf’s artwork can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars on the black market.

The art thieves generally target churches on the western part of Macedonia where the churches are located in remote villages. Out of the 201 churches and monasteries that are registered as national treasures, two-thirds of them are inadequately guarded without alarms or guards.

Experts believe that most of the illicit trade is organized in Albania, with the artifacts being sold to collectors in Western Europe and Russia.

(Art theft statistics and information.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Macedonia prey to global racket in holy icon theft,” Yahoo News, January 12, 2014.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, there were nearly 33,000 prostitutes working in Vietnam in 2013. The number of sex workers in Vietnam was 9 percent higher than the number working in 2012.

(Number of prostitutes in the world.)

The areas with the most prostitutes in Vietnam was in larger cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hai Phong, and tens to be concentrated in tourist destinations. A large portion of the prostitutes are employed in legal establishments such as massage parlors, karaoke bars and hotels.

On average, a prostitute in Vietnam earns about $500 a month.

(More prostitution statistics.)

Source:  “Vietnam’s sex industry soaring: ministry,” Than Nien Daily, January 12, 2014.

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.

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.

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.

The BBC reported on the male prostitution industry in London. When interviewing roughly 50 male escorts, 38 said that would not have unprotected sex with a client, while the remaining 12 stated that they would. The men who stated that they would provide sex without a condom stated that the price charged is generally between $164 to $410 (£100 to £250) on top of the normal service rate.

Another male prostitute interviewed by the BBC stated that he generally charges $229 (£140) per hour.

The most that one prostitute reported earning in a month was as high as $49,000 (£30,000), according to statements he made to the media.

(More earnings from under the table jobs.)

Source:  Mobeen Azhar, “The escorts who want to rebrand male prostitution as a business,” BBC News, January 4, 2014.

Additional prostitution stats and prices available in our ebook:

In 2001, court records state that there were 1,382 charges for prostitution offenses in the Canadian city of Toronto. By 2006, the number of charges dropped 21 percent to 1,088.

By the year 2011, the number of charges for prostitution-related crimes decreased by 90 percent, when 110 charges were brought to court.

(Prices of prostitutes around the world.)

Source:  Jessica McDiarmid, “Prostitution-related charges in Toronto drop 90 per cent,” Toronto Star, January 2, 2014.