The news program Four Corners in Australia reported that human smugglers sell passports and visa documents to Australia for $15,000 (16,000 AUD). The black market sellers claimed that a recent customer purchased a valid visa and passport issued by Bahrain, and was able to use the documents to board a plane to Australia.

The smugglers tell their customers to rip up the passport and visa on the plane before landing in Australia. Once on Australian soil, the person is able to apply for asylum.

(Additional prices of black market goods.)

Source: Sarah Ferguson, “People smugglers selling asylum seekers passports and visas for entry to Australia by plane,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, November 19, 2013.

In a study conducted by Quest Diagnostics, less than 2 percent of workers in the United States tested positive for marijuana use through workplace drug testing. Back in 2002, just under 3 percent tested positive for marijuana.

The fall in workers testing positive stands in contrast to the numbers of Americans who use marijuana. According to reports by public health programs, 7.3 percent of Americans admitted to smoking marijuana within the previous month, an increase from the 5.8 percent in 2007.

The use of prescription drugs by US workers increased dramatically in recent years, according to the study. The use of Adderall and other types of amphetamines doubled between 2002 and 2012. Since 2005, the use of Vicodin by workers rose by 172 percent, and OxyContin use increased by 72 percent.

(See the price of marijuana around the world.)

Source:  Roberto A. Ferdman, “Americans are smoking more weed, but testing positive less often,” Quartz, November 18, 2013.

Source:  Charlotte Alter, “Study: Fewer Workers Using Cocaine and Marijuana, But Prescription Drug Use Is Up,” Time, November 18, 2013.

There are an estimated 300,000 people in Costa Rica between the ages of 13 to 35 who consume synthetic drugs such as ecstasy. 2 percent of students stated that they have tried ecstasy at least once in their life.

According to officials, a single ecstasy pill costs between $11 to $19 on the black market, while the UN reports that the price is $25 per tablet.  In comparison, a single hit of crack cocaine costs $1 in Costa Rica.

In the first 10 months of 2013, security services seized 11,300 doses of ecstasy in the country. 11,109 pills were seized in one campaign where the pills were being trafficked from Germany and the Netherlands.

In all of 2012, there was a total of 293 doses seized.

Source:  Mario Garita, “Cost Rica: Ecstasy use on the rise among children,” Infosurhoy, November 15, 2013.

The Cape Flats region of South Africa reportedly has one of the highest concentration of crystal meth users in the world, with 10 times the addicts as Johannesburg.

Back in 2004, an estimated 12,000 school children were using crystal meth, or “tik” as it is called in South Africa. By 2009, the number of children using meth increased to 69,00, with public health programs stating the the number is much higher in 2013. In total, an estimated 250,000 people are addicted to crystal meth in the region, out of a total population of 3 million.

(More facts about meth addiction.)

The meth is sold in drinking straws for $3. Users who are addicted are reportedly committing rapes and muggings while high. In one court case, a mother was given a suspended sentence and community service after she killed her son who was addicted to crystal meth. The mother stated that after being beaten, finding stolen goods in her house, and having her curtains set on fire that she simply could no longer deal with her son.

Teenagers armed with pit bulls also attack people in order to pay for their drug habits.

Two thirds of the residents in the region are unemployed, and one-quarter are HIV positive.

(Meth Prices by Country.)

Source:  Fred Bridgland, “South Africa Breaks Bad,” Herald Scotland, November 17, 2013.

In 2012, the major professional sports leagues in the United States lost over $13 Billion in revenue due to sales of counterfeit jerseys and apparel.

Merchandise of the National Football League (NFL) had the most losses to counterfeits, with nearly $3 Billion of the total, according to The Licensing Letter.

Authentic “elite” jerseys, which are similar to the jerseys worn by NFL players on game day, retail for $250. Sellers of the counterfeit jersey, with the Nike logo, NFL hologram, and other key indicators, sell for $75.

Source:  Allan Brettman, “NFL, Nike fight to keep counterfeit products off the market,” Orgonian, November 16, 2013.

Between April 2012 to April 2013, security services in the United Kingdom conducted over 675 seizures of wildlife items that were being trafficked into the country.

The following is a small sample of the contraband items that were seized:

  • 326 items made with ivory.
  • Rhino horn that was worth $1.6 Million (£1 Million).
  • 466 Hermann’s tortoises
  • 750 kilograms of coral form Vietnam
  • Monkey Skulls
  • A Rolls Royce upholstered with alligator skin.
  • 126,000 pots of a weight-loss pill and 15,120 pots of a sports supplement for using rare orchids as ingredients.

(More prices of animals sold on the black market.)

Source: Victoria Turk, “Bear Bile, Seahorses, and Tortoise Jelly: The UK Had a Record Year for Wildlife Busts,” Motherboard, November 16, 2013.

Drug dealers in Britain use electronic gambling machines across the nation to launder money that they earned through illegal drug sales.

According to a report in the Guardian, the dealers insert drug money into the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and then cash out to make it seem that drug money is gambling winnings.

(More illegal gambling statistics.)

The dealers are aware that gamble at least 40 percent of the money wagered in order to avoid being flagged for suspicious activities. One dealer stated that he simply puts £20 on black £20 on red, and £2 on 0, and plays until he passes the 40 percent level.

By feeding the terminals with drug money and then cashing out, the drug dealers are able to have a receipt that shows how much money was cashed out Thus, if they are ever stopped by police, the drug dealers can point to the receipt to show why they are holding so much cash.

There are 33,345 fixed-0dds betting terminals across the United Kingdom. Each one is able to process a £100 bet every 20 seconds. One machine can gross about £900 a week.

(What is money laundering? Find more examples here.)

Source:  Randeep Ramesh, “The gambling machines helping drug dealers ‘turn dirty money clean’,” Guardian, November 8 2013

As the conflict in Syria continues, refugees continue to turn to the black market in order to survive and generate money. It was previously reported that women were turning to prostitution, and the men were selling their daughters to other men.

In November 2013, it was reported that refugees from Syria were selling their kidneys in Lebanon to brokers in order to make money. According to a report in Der Spiegal, a man stated that he sold his kidney for $7,000. The customers who purchased the kidney and pay for the operations reportedly pays $15,000.

The kidney broker who arranges the transactions gets a $700 commission.

According to a kidney broker in the region, there are more sellers than buyers in the region.

(More prices of organs and kidney trafficking on the black market.)

Source:  Ulrike Putz, “Lebanese Black Market: Syrian Refugees Sell Organs to Survive,” Spiegal Online, November 12, 2013.

In 2013, wildlife charities launched educational campaigns that aimed to lower the consumption of shark fin. Fisherman would cut the fins off of sharks in order to be used in soups that were served in high-end restaurants in Hong Kong and China. The results of the campaigns have been very successful, as many restaurants no longer serve shark fin soup.

Due to the lower demand for shark fin, fisherman who made their living in the Asia Pacific region have seen their income drop. According to media reports, fisherman who caught shark fins previously made several hundred dollars per month. In late 2013, as the demand for shark fin declines, the fisherman are now only earning between $37 to $46 per month (40 to 50 Australian Dollars).

In order to find new incomes, many of the fisherman are turning to human smuggling. Reports indicate that fisherman in Indonesia are using their boats to transports asylum seekers to Australia. A captain of  a human smuggling boat can earn up to $2,327 (2,500 AUD).  The crew members of the smuggling boat can earn between $930 to $1,396 (1,000 to 1,500 AUD).

(More prices and fees for human smugglers.)

Source:  Kate Evans, “Drop in shark fin prices lures people smugglers,” ABC Radio Australia, November 14, 2013.

A study released by the Government of Bolivia found that 58 percent of the coca that is cultivated in the country is used for traditional purposes.

The remaining 32 percent of coca is devoted to cocaine production.

In total, 25,300 hectares of coca was cultivated across Bolivia in 2012.

Bolivia is ranked third behind Peru and Colombia in terms of cocaine production worldwide. Over 40,000 people in the country depend on coca cultivation for income. The crop contributes to $332 Million to Bolivia’s economy.

(Cocaine prices by country.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Bolivia says most of its coca for traditional uses,” San Jose Mercury News, November 13, 2013.