The global black market has the ability to create financial losses for corporations and governments worldwide. Threat intelligence of the illegal trade is provided to help mitigate this risk. Reports and assessments has been collected from various sources such as government agencies, academic reports, media publications and reported data from our readers.

Security agents with the Interior Ministry in Russia arrested a Moldovan woman who was attempting to sell 4 women in central Moscow. According to the police, the woman was selling the women for $2,865 (100,000 Russian Ruble) each.

The young women from Moldova who were rescued were between the ages of 18 and 20. They each answered advertisements posted online that were offering high-paying jobs which did not exist. Once the woman were lured, their passports were taken and they were forced into prostitution.

(See all human trafficking statistics here.)

Source:  “Moldovan Arrested for Trying to Sell Young Women into Prostitution,” Moscow Times, May 29, 2014.

According to a 2014 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), over 80 million people living in Europe are estimated to have used an illegal drug at some point in their lives. The number of people who have tried an illegal drug represents about a quarter of the adult population in the EU.

The most used illicit drug in Europe was marijuana, with 73.6 Million people stating that they tried it at least once in their lifetimes. In the most recent year measured (2012), the report stated that 18.1 million used marijuana. A total of 2,000 tonnes of marijuana and hashish is consumed in the EU each year.

The second most used drug in Europe was cocaine, with 14.1 million people using it in their lifetime. 3.1 million people used it in 2012. Based on analysis of raw sewage, investigators in Europe estimated that 1,800 pounds (832 Kilograms) of cocaine were consumed daily in Europe Cities.

The third most used drug in Europe was amphetamines, with 11.4 million users who used it in their lifetimes and 1.5 million users in 2012.

There were 31,000 new opioid users in Europe, with about 1.3 million problem users.

Heroin caused 6,100 overdose deaths in Europe in 2012, while cocaine overdose caused some 500 deaths.

Source:  AFP, “Prescription, synthetic drug abuse worry EU watchdog,” GlobalPost, May 27, 2014.

Security agencies in China confiscated 976,500 metric tons of illegal waste materials that was in the process of being smuggled, according to the Customs Department. The amount of waste material seized in 2013 was 150 percent higher than in 2012.

The illegal waste was intercepted over the course of 221 cases, a threefold increase from the number of cases in 2012.

The solid waste materials that were caught included both recyclable and non-recyclable materials, such as discarded steel and iron, coal slag, chemicals and electronic waste, building materials and medical waste.

Security officials stated that most of the waste was being imported into China from foreign countries such as the United States, Europe and Japan. The waste is smuggled into China through large shipping containers, which are not properly declared on customs forms.

Source:  Zhang Yan, “Solid waste smuggling sees threefold rise,” China Daily, May 27, 2014.

According to an investigation conducted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), there are around 2,500 illegal mining pits located across Ukraine. Most of the illegal “kopanki” pits are located in the Donbas region near Donetsk. Experts in the mining industry estimate that tens of thousands of illegal miners are working in these pits.

The Trade Union of the Coal Miners in Ukraine estimate that between 6 to 7 million tons of coal is illegally extracted from these mines each year. With the average price of a ton of coal being $100, the illegal coal mined from Ukraine could be worth up to $700 Million per year.

7 million tons of coal represents 11 percent of the country’s total coal output.

Source:  Denys Kanzansky and Serhly Harmash, “Ukraine’s Illegal coal mines: dirty, dangerous, deadly,” Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, May 26, 2014.


Security officials estimate that illegal online gambling syndicates earn up to $2.4 Billion (7.9 Billion Malaysian Ringgit) a year from illegal gambling activities in Malaysia.

Intelligence by enforcement agencies shows that online bookies are able to make a daily profit of $3,112 (10,000 Ringgit) from illegal gamblers in the Malaysia. A start-up gambling website with $15,500 (50,000 Ringgit) in capital is able to collected between $2,178 to $3,112 (7,000 to 10,000 Ringgit) per day with a few customers.

The online syndicates use covers such as cyber cafes and restaurants to hid their gambling activities and to wash their funds.

(Additional money laundering  cases.)

Source:  Rahimy Rahim and Allison Lai, “Gambling rings making almost RM8bil a year even with raids,” Asia One, May 26, 2014.

In a report by Human Rights Watch, a death squad organized on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines were reportedly being paid $110 per killing of drug dealers, thieves and even children.

The death squad was reportedly organized by the may of Tagum City, who paid the hit men a monthly salary of $220 and issued .45 caliber handguns and motorcycles. The main task of the squad was to kill “weeds,” or criminals who were viewed as problems for the city. In addition to the criminals, the hitmen would also conduct for profit killings, such as assassinating  a judge or other local politicians.

(See more cost to hire a hitman here.)

Source:  Phelim Kine, “$110 Per Hit,” Foreign Policy, May 22, 2014.

According to security officials with the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, around 500 people are arrested each year for attempting to cheat at casinos in the state of Nevada. Out of the total number of arrested, nearly a third of those arrests are casino employees.

Security experts stated that increased video technology and ultraviolet and infrared light are creating new opportunities for cheaters in the casinos. There have been cases where gamblers would wear infrared contact lenses in order for the wearer to see marked cards.

(More on illegal gambling and betting here.)

Source:  Bethany Barnes, “Casino gaming cheats are increasingly sophisticated, panelists say,” Las Vegas Sun, May 22, 2014.

A woman in Nigeria was arrested by anti-human trafficking unit for selling her newborn baby.

According to media reports, the woman worked as a prostitute and already had two children who were being taken care of by her mother. Due to the inability of take care of another child, the woman made arraignments with a local broker to find another woman who could buy the child.

The broker found a childless woman who paid $2650 (430,000 Nigerian Naira) for the newborn baby. The broker then paid the baby’s mother $925.

Buying babies from pregnant women is a growing black market in Nigeria.

(See more human trafficking victims and the prices sold to traffickers.)

Source:  “22-year-old mother sells own baby for N.4million,” The Sun (Nigeria), May 25, 2014.

Customs officials in Ireland broke up a counterfeit vodka operation that was managed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that is estimated to have been a multimillion euro moonshine operation.

In a raid by Custom agents, nearly 1110,000 bottles caps, 400,000 fake labels of popular vodka brands, 500 cardboard boxes and a bottling plant was seized in May 2014.

Intelligence officials state that the IRA is potentially bringing in fake alcohol from Eastern Europe, and is filling up empty bottles with counterfeit alcohol. IRA members collected empty spirit bottles from bars and pubs across Ireland and bring them back to the operations center. There, the bottles are washed and the new labels and bottle tops are attached. The new fake bottles of vodka are then sold to bar owners and vendors across Ireland and the United Kingdom. The moonshine bottles, known as Provo vodka, is readily available across Northern Ireland and is often sold at places where smuggled cigarettes are also available.

The vodka labels discovered by security officials included Smirnoff and Stolichnaya.

Source:  Jim Cusack, “IRA moonshine operation smashed by Customs officers,” Independent, May 25, 2014.

A sworn affidavit by a special agent with Homeland Security stated that gangs in Boston, Massachusetts are turning away from drug dealing and are increasing its activities in the human trafficking and prostitution markets due to its profitability.

Several experts interviewed by the Boston Herald stated that prostitution is currently the number one way for gangs to make money, surpassing drug trafficking and drug sales.

According to Homeland Security, gangs in the Boston area force girls to service clients as prostitutes and impose daily quotas of $200 to $1,000. These women who are forced to work as prostitutes are able to continually make money for the traffickers, as opposed to a one time sale for drugs.

(Latest human trafficking statistics.)

The rise in human trafficking and prostitution activities has increased in Massachusetts are the enforcement of prostitution offenses has declined. Back in 1995, there were 2,835 arrests across Massachusetts for prostitution related crimes. In 2012, the number of arrests had fallen to 944.

(See all prostitution statistics here.)

Source:  Bob McGovern, “Feds: Flesh funding gangs,” Boston Herald, May24, 2014.