Illicit Trade

Converging Criminal Networks

image of Illicit Trade

This report assesses the magnitude, flows and drivers of illicit trade and the illegal economy including: narcotics, human trafficking, wildlife, sports betting, counterfeit medicines, alcohol and tobacco. The negative socio-economic impacts that these markets have in consumer countries are as worrisome as the goverance gaps that are exploited in source countries. This report examines each illicit sector in terms of the geographic sources, destinations and key trade routes, the current trend of infiltration by organized crime networks, and good practices or future policy solutions with which to combat illicit trade within the various sectors.



A brief overview of illicit trade in tobacco products

The illicit trade in tobacco is perhaps the most widespread and most documented sector in the shadow economy. It has been estimated that 570 billion illicit cigarettes were consumed worldwide in 2011. Illicit tobacco is therefore an important source of revenue for criminal networks, and it deprives government services of excise tax revenues at the same time. This chapter describes the different types of illicit tobacco products, explains some of the methods for measuring the markets and suggests measures that could be taken to impede this criminal activity.


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