Why illicit trade matters


Illicit trade is the lifeblood of organised crime and corruption. Black markets – be they for narcotics, trafficking of human beings, arms smuggling, counterfeit consumer goods, money laundering, or illegal exploitation of natural resources – together constitute a significant part of global economic output. A more strategic and holistic approach to illicit trade is required to enhance global economic development and security.

  • Facilitated by globalisation and the digital revolution, illicit trade has exploded in the last decades
  • Illicit trade harms consumers, enterprises, the broader economy, national security, the environment, and development in every country on the planet
  • Despite its enormous size and strategic importance, there is low public awareness and political prioritisation of the problem
  • Under present economic conditions, fighting illicit trade would bring considerable fiscal benefits