Spain Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Spain’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

In 2011, an estimated 65 Billion cigarettes were smoked in the European Union that was smuggled and purchased on the black market.The black market cigarettes caused a loss of tax revenue of $1.2 Billion (1 Billion Euros) for the EU budget and up to $11 Billion in lost tax revenue for EU member states.

Sales of black market cigarettes in Spain increased by 300 percent in 2011, with 4.6 Billion cigarettes being sold illegally. In Ireland, the market for smuggled cigarettes was 17 percent of the total cigarette market in 2011.

Worldwide, cigarette smuggling causes losses in tax revenue of $50 Billion.

Source: Stephen Castle and Doreen Carvajal, “Europe’s Downturn Creates Unlikely Smugglers,” New York Times, July 11, 2012.

Spain’s Tobacconist Association stated that contraband sales of cigarettes accounted for 7 to 8 percent of the cigarette market in the country in 2011, up from virtually zero the year before. The rise in cigarette smuggling is attributed to a rise in tobacco taxes and a ban in smoking in public places.

The smuggling of contraband cigarettes is estimated to have caused tobacco tax collection to be 14 percent lower than estimated forecasts.

Source: Manuel Baigorri, “Smugglers Prosper in Spain’s ‘Perfect Storm’ for Tobacco,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, February 8, 2012.

In the first nine months of 2011, Custom Officers in Spain stopped 2,899 people from bringing in illegal cigarettes into the country from Gibraltar.

The number of cigarette smugglers attempting to enter Spain from Gibraltar has been increasing every year.  2,112 people were stopped from smuggling cigarettes into Spain in 2010, and 1,226 people were stopped in 2009. In 2008, the number of smugglers who were stopped by Custom Officers was 985.

In 2011, around 225 million illegal cigarettes and several tons of tobacco was seized by police in Spain. The cigarette smuggling activities were bringing the contraband cigarettes into the United Kingdom.

Source: “Smuggling on the rise between Gibraltar and Spain,” Olive Press, January 16, 2012.

Source: “Cigarette smuggling crackdown in Spain,” Olive Press,” December 18, 2011.


A report by the Association for the Reintegration of Women in Prostitution (APRAMP) stated that 39 percent of Spanish men have paid for the services of a prostitute at least once.

Following Spain, the next four highest usage of prostitution by male citizens of the country were Switzerland (19 percent of men), Austria (15 percent), Netherlands (14 percent), and Sweden (13 percent).

An estimated 700,000 women work as prostitutes across the European Union.

(Number of prostitutes in various countries.)

Source: “39% of Spaniards have hired the services of a prostitute,” Spanish Review, October 26, 2011.

In the first half of 2011, over 77 percent of digital content consumed in Spain was pirated, according to the Coalition of Creators and Industries of Content. The piracy caused the movie, music, book and video game industries to lose $7.2 Billion (5.2 Billion Euros) in earnings.

74 percent of all digital movies watched in Spain in the first half of 2011 were obtained from services other then the legitimate owner of the movie.

Source: Pamela Rolfe, “Over 77% of Digital Content Consumed in Spain is Pirated,” Hollywood Reporter, November 8, 2011.

$320 Billion in income is estimated to be undeclared in Italy, according to the nation’s Industry Minister.

In Greece, the government may be losing up to $30 Billion a year due to tax evasion.

The Spanish Government collected more than $13 Billion in 2010 by focusing on tax evasion activities, an increase of 23 percent from 2009 enforcement levels. In 2011, an estimated 80 percent of the largest companies in Spain harbor profits in tax havens around the world.

Source: Tim Lister, “Tax evasion is a national pastime afflicting southern Europe,” CNN, November 3, 2011.

There are a reported 400 million pirated downloads on the Internet in Spain each year.

100 million cinema tickets are sold each year in the country.

Source: John Hopewell, “MPAA’s Dodd praises Spain’s anti-piracy moves,” Variety, July 19, 2011.

After the Civil War in Spain in 1936 to 1939, an estimated 30,000 babies were stolen from their parents and sold to parents.

Often, the babies were taken at birth while the mother was told that the baby were stillborn.

Source: Associated Press, “Spain probes 849 cases of alleged baby trafficking,” Google News, June 17, 2011.

6 percent of all cigarettes smoked in Spain in the first three months of 2011 were smuggled. This is an increase from the one percent of contraband cigarettes smoked in all of 2010.

Source: AFP, “Cigarette smuggling soars in Spain after tax hike: company,” Expatica, April 4, 2011.

The prostitution industry in Spain spends $53 Million (40 Million Euros) on classified ads in newspapers each year and represent up to 60 percent of all classified ads.

(Price of prostitutes by country.)

Source: “Spain prostitution will banning sex workers ads in the newspapers help any,” Barcelona Reporter, January 15, 2011.