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.



The OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade (TF-CIT) was established to advance the resilience of our economies and societies to the odious global threat: illicit trade perpetrated by criminal entrepreneurs and transnational illicit networks that enables the global illegal economy to thrive in the dark side of globalization. In too many places around the world, criminals have built their illicit empires on dirty money and laundered funds to infiltrate and corrupt government institutions. In this shadowy, illegal economy traffickers and narcotics kingpins act as CEOs and venture capitalists while they build their empires of destruction, jeopardizing public health, emaciating communities’ human capital, eroding our collective security, and destabilizing fragile governments. The breadth and scale of these illicit markets are vast; various international organizations estimate the scale of illicit trade is thriving with hundreds of billions of dollars in illicit commerce that includes trafficking in narcotics, persons, endangered wildlife, illegallylogged timber, counterfeit consumer goods and medications, hazardous and toxic waste, stolen antiquities and art, illicitly-traded cigarettes, and other illicitly-traded goods and commodities.


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