According to crisis management firm red24, there are over 1,000 cases of kidnapping for ransom that takes place in Nigeria each year.

It was previously reported that the average ransom paid out for the hostages was $50,000 in 2012. The kidnappers in Nigeria usually demand $500,000 as an opening figure.

(All kidnapping for ransom intelligence.)

Source:  “Proof of life: Behind the hostage industry,”, September 11, 2013.

Between July 1 and August 10, 2013, nearly 9,000 migrants were smuggled into Italy by boat, according to Italy’s Interior Ministry. In the August 2012 to August 2013 time span, over 24,000 migrants entered Italy by boat.

Security officials stated that in most years migrants are originally from sub-Sahara Africa and enter Italy to look for work across the EU. However, in 2012-2013, many of the migrants who were smuggled to Italy by boat were Syrians fleeing the civil war in Syria.

(Costs to be smuggled into a foreign country.)

Source:  Steve Scherer, “Italy seizes ‘mother ship’ smuggling Syrian refugees,” Reuters, September 12, 2013.

Four men were sentenced to 3 months in jail for having sex with an underage prostitute. According to court records, the men paid between $47 to $55 (60 to 70 Singapore Dollars) to have sex with a girl who was 17 at the time.

The group of men are part of a group of 24 men who have been charged with having sex with the minor. The girls is scheduled to face trial in the coming months.

(Additional prices of prostitutes worldwide.)

Source:  “Four more jailed for paid sex with underage girl,” Channel News Asia, September 12, 2013.

A study conducted for Ofcom indicated that nearly one in four downloads on the Internet in the United Kingdom involves a pirated material. The study covered the time period of May 2012 to May 2013.

Most of the illegally downloaded content in the UK is done by a small percentage of users. According to the study, 2 percent of  UK Internet users account fro almost 75 percent of online piracy. The most popular form of pirated content during the time period was movies, with 35 percent of the total number of movies viewed online was pirated.

The Internet users who were the most active illegal downloaders were also found to spend the more money for legal content. On average, users who pirate content spend $41.10 (£26) every three months of legal downloads. Internet users who do not commit piracy spent $25.32 (£16) on legal content every three months.

Source:  “Ofcom: Piracy accounts for one in four downloads,” BBC News, September 11, 2013.

A cannabis resin farmer in Afghanistan is able to earn over $1,500 in extra revenue for each hectare of farmland when compared to growing opium. According to a media report in the Guardian, growing cannabis resin requires less weeding and easier to harvest than opium .

In 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated 1,400 tonnes of commercial cannabis resin was harvested in Afghanistan. The value of the crop was around $65 Million.

(How much does marijuana cost?.)

Opium farming in Afghanistan takes up more than 10 times the land in the country that is growing cannabis.

Afghanistan provides 90 percent of the world’s opium supply.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Source:  Emma Graham-Harrison, “Afghanistan’s cannabis production rises,” Guardian, September 10, 2013.

Roughly 70 percent of iPhones purchased in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong eventually ends up in China. The phones are either smuggled and resold on the grey market or is purchased by tourists.

Apple sells between $6-$8 Billion worth of products in Hong Kong. Thus, around $4 to $5 Billion worth of iPhones and iPads bought in Hong Kong end up in China.

Analysts covering the company state that the weaker Hong Kong dollar and low tax rate contribute to the smuggling of iPhones into China.

Source:  “Early iPhone launch in China will hurt lucrative smuggling trade,” Toronto Star, September 10, 2013.

Over the span of 10 years, thousands of people have been killed due to religious and ethnic violence in the Central Nigerian region known as the Middle Belt.

Contributing to the violence is an estimated 5,000 firearms that were illegally trafficked into the area. Out of those illicit arms, about 3,500 are AK-47s that were produced in France and Ukraine and smuggled to Nigeria. The remaining 1,500 are locally produced firearms.

(Prices of AK-47s and other weapons on the black market.)

Source:  Alexis Okeowo, “The Arms-Trade Treaty and the Gun Seller,” New Yorker, September 9, 2013.

1.9 percent of American adults in their late 50’s reported smoking marijuana back in 2002.

In 2012, the percentage of adults in that age bracket rose to 6.6 percent.

The rate of marijuana smoking by Americans in the 50 to 64 age bracket was still lower than the national rate.

7 percent of people in the United States smoked marijuana in 2011.

(Marijuana prices by country.)

Source:  Emily Alpert, “Marijuana use on the rise among young adults, fiftysomethings,” Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2013.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 807 people in Britain died from overdoses in 2013. More people died from prescription drug abuse than from overdosing on cocaine and heroin, which had a total of 718 deaths.

In total, there are an estimated 32,000 Britons who are addicted to prescription painkillers.

62 million prescriptions were written out by doctors in 2013, and patients spent an estimated $784 Million (£500 Million) purchasing prescription drugs at pharmacies.

(More drug abuse and crime statistics from the United Kingdom.)

Source:  Sophie Borland, “A nation of prescription drug addicts: More Britons die from abusing painkillers and tranquillisers than heroin and cocaine,” Daily Mail, September 8, 2013.

A report by an online advertising and Internet security firm stated that up to $9.5 Billion in online advertising in 2013 could be wasted by displaying ads to bot traffic.

Up to 46 percent of Web-based ad impressions in 2013 could be displayed to suspicious and malicious traffic that is controlled by botnets. 35 percent of mobile-based ad impressions may be bots as well, according to Solve Media.

In 2012, the rate of ad impression for the web and mobile was 43 percent and 22 percent.

The report stated that the highest levels of suspicious traffic for Web-based ads originated from China, Venezuela and Ukraine. For mobile-based ads, the bot traffic originated from Singapore, Macau and Qatar.

In the United States, 44 percent of web-based ad impressions was considered suspicious in the second quarter of 2013, and 22 percent for mobile-based ads.

Source:  Brian Donohue, “Report: Online Ads Waste $9.5B in 2013,” Threatpost, September 9, 2013.