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THE EMERGENCE OF THE ILLEGAL MARKETS IN EUROPEAN UNION

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									          THE EMERGENCE OF THE ILLEGAL MARKETS IN EUROPEAN UNION


                                                       Irina Caunic, PhD
                                                       „Al. I. Cuza” University of Iaşi.
                                                       Iasi, Romania
                                                       irina_caunic@yahoo.com.

     Florin Bogdan Suciu, Doctoral Student
     „Al. I. Cuza” University of Iaşi.
     Iasi, Romania
     fbsuciu@yahoo.com.


                                                             Abstract

      The extent of transactions on the illegal markets has brought the current importance of their research, especially in the
context of the overall effects and the macroeconomic consequences of the financial activity and fiscal performances.
      Through this article we aim to offer a support for further development of quantitative and qualitative researches on drugs
trafficking, human being trafficking and intellectual property theft by highlighting their impact on the real economy of the
European Union member states.
      The article explores the main activities composing the hard core of the underground economy, simultaneously starting both
from the known theoretical aspects and their concrete progress, for identifying and understanding their peculiarities.

      Keywords
      Illegal markets, underground economy, drug trafficking, human being trafficking, counterfeiting and intellectual property theft,
illegal profit.



     1.   INTRODUCTION
      The analysis of the organized crime evolution trends, highlighted in the 2008 and 2009 Europol reports, but also
by other international institutions in this matter, has emphasized a research need focusing primarily on illegal drug
markets, human being trafficking and counterfeit products, approach warranted by their prevalence and extent
throughout Europe.
      We mention that, until now, the facts themselves were analyzed with emphasis on a juridical, historical or
psychological point of view, but we consider underlining the economic implications of transactions in the illegal
markets is a timely initiative, in the context in which the main causes of the emergence and expansion of organized
crime are given by the opportunity to achieve significant income in a relatively short period of time.
      The pointing of organized crime economic goals must be assessed on the basis of a large underground market
development but also considering the diversification of illegal activities whose financial product grows
exponentially, maintaining global instability. Organized crime is, now considered by experts in the field, as the
economic branch with the fastest expansion in the world. According to calculations, the annual profit recorded by
such networks is estimated between 500 and 1500 billion dollars, the most profitable industries being related to
illicit drugs or human being trafficking [1].
      Illegal markets have been defined in literature [2] as places where are marketed goods and services of whose
production, sale or consumption is prohibited by the most countries or international law. The evolution of these
markets is influenced, as in the case of the official ones, by the growth or decline in demand for products and
services. Prohibition of goods or services may affect the volume of illicit activities, but equally offers new
opportunities in the operation of illegal markets, the most suggestive example in this respect, being the
criminalization of the production, trafficking and drug use, which didn`t eliminated or reduced demand for such
substances, but only created a global market prospects for the development of drugs, that operates outside controls
imposed by the authorities.


     2. DYNAMICS OF THE ILLEGAL DRUG MARKETS IN EUROPEAN UNION
     Concerning the strands of organized crime networks operating in the European Union, valences of drug
trafficking get more and more worrisome, not only because of the level of proliferation, and especially the size of
financial transactions, existing studies [3] placing the European markets among the most profitable in terms of
consumption of heroin and cocaine. In this regard, the Office of Narcotics Control under the U.S. State Department
estimated that one kilogram of cocaine production amounted to $ 3000, its retail price being $ 20,000, while in the
case of heroin, production cost is much higher, respectively, $ 4000 - $ 5000, the sale price being $ 250,000 - $
350,000 [4].
     Regarding the retail price of cocaine, it is higher in Finland, Luxembourg and Italy, markets in the Nordic
countries - Finland, Denmark and Sweden - being in exchange famous, for the high prices paid to purchase a gram
of heroin (see Table 1).

                 Table 1: Cocaine and Heroin: The price of retail markets in Europe, 2000 - 2006

                                     Retail price (street price) U.S. $ / Gram
                 Europe                                   2000 2001 2002          2003    2004     2005    2006

 Austria                           Cocaine          94    78     71     90      103      101               78
                                   Heroin           75    44     92     68      75       74                69
 Denmark                           Cocaine          106   120    91     122     82       82                81
                                   Heroin           116   111    126    122     94       123               100
 Finland                           Cocaine          138   121    111    151     146      170               100
                                   Heroin           207   121    188    195     195      182               125
 France                            Cocaine          50    87     75     90      99       94                100
                                   Heroin           32    34     47     57      68       69                67
 Germany                           Cocaine          57    58     57     68      73       79                74
                                   Heroin           39    38     38     46      49       48                46
 Greece                            Cocaine          69    72     75     96      93       79                110
                                   Heroin           55    53     45     65      51       31                75
 Italy                             Cocaine          100   89     90     101     113      114               164
                                   Heroin           71    68     59     63      69       68                66
 Luxembourg                        Cocaine          119   119    107    96      114      114               104
                                   Heroin           69    67     67     45      101      102               102
 Netherlands                       Cocaine          33    33     33     50      59       59                106
                                   Heroin           25    43     35     40      57       38                38
 Sweden                            Cocaine          77    79     87     99      93       92                101
                                   Heroin           113   129    133    128     119      92                92
 United Kingdom                    Cocaine          94    94     84     90      91       79                87
                                   Heroin           107   86     91     100     110      93                71
 Ireland                           Cocaine          28    28     94     79      87       88                88
                                   Heroin           176   170    179    179     248      252               251
    Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC) World Drug Report 2008, Statistics,         pp. 255;
260, http://viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php?preview=1&mid=wtddth&%5Fx=1#/page2/.

    Lately, could be seen in Europe, a fall in cocaine price and at the same time, an increase in demand for this
drug, indicated by the prevalence of cocaine use in the general population and the problem drug users. This trends
can be explained by factors [5], such as:
          an increase in the supply of cocaine to Europe, reflected in rising volumes of seizures;
          the increased volume of European cocaine consumption together with the relative strength of European
              currencies compared to the US dollar, was able to offset falling prices and possibly lower profit
              margins;
          technological developments and the use of new trafficking routes, such as the West African route,
              could have led to a decrease in transportation costs and low-paid traffickers;
          more competition inside the European cocaine market [6].
    The same downward trend in the retail price could be also applied to cannabis, for the period 2002-2007. Thus,
in most European countries, retail prices for cannabis resin ranged, on average, between 3 and 11 EUR per gram,
while, for the same period, average retail price for herbal cannabis ranged between 1 and 12 EUR, data indicating a
more stable situation [7].
     We consider that analysis of drug prices is an important tool for understanding market trends profile, because,
based on information obtained, becomes possible to estimate the typical price paid by a consumer to obtain a certain
drug in a European country. Shaping perspectives on recorded profits of illegal drug markets is possible through
analysis of key indicators regarding the illegal cultivation, drug markets and interventions to reduce supply, referring
to:
           price changes over time, which may indicate possible changes in supply or demand for drugs;
           wholesale prices, regarding price paid by drug dealers to major distributors market the drug is
               consumed;
           retail prices of illegal drugs and data on the purity or concentration;
           drug seizures (as a indirect indicator for supply, traffic routes and availability of drugs;
     Along with analyzing prices, an important aspect in assessing dynamics of drug markets is given of
emphasizing the varying degrees of involvement of some EU countries in production, distribution, or consumption
of drugs activities depending on social, economic or political factors that favor or maintain their interest for one or
another component of those markets mechanism of operating. Concerning the production of heroin, cocaine and
cannabis, cultivation of these plants estimate is based, equally, both on-road activities (sampling on site) and the air
or satellite surveys. These estimates have some important limitations related, for example, on variations of yield
figures or the difficulty of monitoring crop, such as cannabis, that can be grown indoors or isn`t limited to certain
geographical areas.
     Considering the distribution component, existing studies highlight a specialization of the traffic networks on
different types of drugs, being at the same time, engaged in other illegal activities through their control over the
entire circuit, from production to retail sale on underground markets [8]. The imports of cocaine are dominated, at
the EU level, by the Colombian organized crime networks, who take advantage both of historical and linguistic
affinities with Spain and Portugal and the existence of a representative diaspora, set of along the coasts of the
Iberian Peninsula [9]. In this context, the most important gateways for cocaine to enter Europe are, according to an
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction Report [10], Spain, Portugal and Netherlands and to a
lesser extent Germany, Belgium, France and Great Britain which benefit from the highly developed transportation
infrastructure, excellent connections to the production and transit zones via airports and sea ports, and the access to
the trans-European corridors.
     Analyzed under the distribution aspect, trafficking in heroin is dominated on the European Union, by Turkish,
Kurdish and Iranian groups, having established close ties both with Afghanistan networks and also with those in
countries like Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and United Kingdom [11]. Although most of the quantity of
imported heroin is transported through the Balkan route, lately become increasingly more common the North Sea
coast route [12].
     In the same context, it is worth mentioning the cannabis plant, that is widespread in the European markets,
being particularly imported, from Africa (Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa) and, to a lesser extent, from
southwest Asia (Pakistan) and the Americas (Jamaica) [13]. Cannabis resin produced in Africa is typically inserted
clandestinely into Europe through the Iberian Peninsula and the Netherlands, being passed on to other European
countries. However, it is likely that a significant proportion of cannabis consumed in the European markets to be the
result of domestic production, plant being grown in a wide range of environments in different regions.
     Along with cannabis, there is high demand in EU member states for synthetic drugs such as amphetamine or
ecstasy, drugs that are produced mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands [14]. Trafficking of synthetic drugs has
become very special, due to the fact that it involves low production costs and making considerable profits, in terms
of getting drugs that do not require advanced knowledge in the field. Although the Dutch and Belgian groups have
control of these markets, though lately has been recorded an increase of the involvement level in the production of
ecstasy and amphetamines of the traffic groups in Eastern Europe, in this case, from Bulgaria and Turkey [15].
     Trends in European drug markets are highlighted through analyzing issues related to the prevalence and
patterns of consumption of such substances, in the general population, being used for this purpose, the following
indicators:
           problem drug use (PDU) - collects data on the prevalence and incidence of problem drug use (PDU) at
               national and local level;
           the treatment demand indicator (TDI) – provides comparable information at a European level
               concerning drugs, drug addiction and their consequences;
           drug related deaths and mortality (DRD) – accounts the percentage of deaths among young people in
               many European countries;
           drug related infectious diseases (DRID) - collects data on the extent of infectious diseases (primarily
            HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B infection) among people who inject drugs;
        general population surveys (GPS) - collects data on the prevalence of drug use among the general
            population;
    We believe that the results of this analysis, although they are limited in scope, will support the calls made in the
new EU Action Plan, to intensify research efforts in those priority areas are underrepresented, such as drug market.


    3. HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND ILLEGAL MIGRATION IN EUROPEAN UNION

     Although globalization has improved communications and trade routes, facilitated at the same time, new ways
of operating illegal activities, along with drug trafficking, being also mentioned human trafficking, phenomenon
recording in the last period, a huge positive dynamics, especially in terms of the networks establishment, within the
European Union, in order to exploit women, children or immigrants through prostitution, begging, theft, forced
labor, etc. From economic perspective, human trafficking involves financial interests, the existence of regional and
international networks of trafficking and the illicit flow of funds which is done under traffic.
     Operations carried out on the illegal market are especially facilitated by the mobility of people and developing
of transport means, and also by restrictions on illegal migration imposed by developed countries, as well as
relatively low risk of detection and sanction of traffickers [16]. In the last two decades has been a significant
increase in cases of human trafficking and illegal migration, phenomena due in part to the possibility of obtaining
considerable profits. In this regard, a recent study [17] has estimated that revenues resulting from trafficking in
illegal workforce, totals about $32 billion annually or $13,000 per person trafficked, and in sexual exploitation for
commercial purposes, sums amounted to 27.8 billion U.S. dollars annually or $ 23,000 for each victim.
     According to Financial Action Task Force [18], rates applied to illegal migration (see Table 2) vary on
nationality and financial situation of the emigrant, the risks involved in travel, the level of traffickers
professionalism (suppliers of such services), degree of comfort during the trip and attractiveness of destination
country, distance between country of origin and destination and regulations existing in respective countries. Note
that the entire industry is founded in fact, on a number of economic principles, such as supply and demand,
increasing price of trafficked persons and drawing networks interest in developing infrastructure and illegal markets.
Along with these aspects, can be highlighted a great extent of these illegal markets, annually between six and eight
million men, women and children being involved in international trafficking of people, most of them being victims
of commercial sexual exploitation [19].
     Like drug trafficking, we also believe that in human trafficking case it is necessary developing a system of
indicators allowing interpretation of existing data and and improving the current methods of comparative analysis of
information from various sources. We appreciate the initiative as appropriate, because nowadays, there isn`t a
system of indicators covering human trafficking, and their identification and definition could lead, as the case of the
illegal drug market, to accurately achieve estimates on the extent of the phenomenon. Among the suggested
indicators, we can mention:
     •        number of European countries that were detected victims of human trafficking;
     •        the number of victims detected;
     •        the number of illegal border crossings;
     •        number of women leaving the main source countries;

                    Table-2: Prices charged by the human being traffickers for illegal migration

              Route / Country of destination                                      Estimated cost
  Italy, for citizens coming from China                       $13.000
  Spain, for citizens coming from South Asia                  EUR 6.000 ($12.000, for procurement of false
                                                              identity documents)
  Spain for citizens coming from North Africa                 EUR 4.000 (6.000, for procurement of false identity
                                                              documents)
  Western Europe, through Hungary, for citizens coming        EUR 800 – 10.000
  from Russia

  to / through Cyprus                                         $3.000 – 5.000
  from Slovakia to Italy                                      $3.000 – 4.000
  transit through Macedonia                                    EUR 1.000 – 1.500
  transit through Serbia and Montenegro                        $1.000
  Europe, through Malta, for citizens coming from Africa       $800 – 1.000

  to / through Croatia                                EUR 500
  from Hungary to Italy                               EUR 500
  to enter the territory of Macedonia for citizens of EUR 250 – 300
  neighboring countries
    Source: Financial Action Task Force, Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing Typologies, 2004-2005, June
10, 2005, p. 70; see also Council of Europe, Proceeds from Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal
Migration/Human Smuggling, Strasbourg, 2005.

      Dimensions of human trafficking in the European Union can not be shaped considering only substantial profits
analysis or in terms of the large number of people who annually become victims of this phenomenon, but especially
by highlighting the new trends in using certain routes by networks of traffickers, who generally prefer the regions
affected by political instability or prolonged economic crisis. According to a study [20], for Europe, these routes are
relevant in terms of human trafficking:
            the Asian countries from Russia via Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to Western Europe;
            the Asian countries via Iran and Turkey, along the Balkan route, to Western Europe;
            Sub-Saharan Africa via North Africa and Gibraltar, to Spain or Italy.
      Currently, EU Member States faced with a diversity regarding the origin of trafficking victims, being affected in
these aspects [21]:
            the countries of Central and South East Europe - considered countries of origin for trafficked human
                beings and subject to various forms of exploitation (forced labor, prostitution) in western and in
                southern Europe. According to expert studies, the most trafficked people coming from Romania and
                Bulgaria, during 2005-2007 being recorded in approximately 2000 victims originating from Romania
                and 600 from Bulgaria;
            EU countries as a destination - trafficking victims identified in Europe in the period 2005-2007, were
                derived both from East Asia, western and northern Africa and South America.
      Services usually offered by groups specialized in the illegal trafficking of persons, consist in preparing
immigrants, obtaining travel documents, providing transport and arrival in the destination country. But, in some
cases, to ensure a successful trip, trafficking networks provide migrants return tickets, money, travelers checks or
credit cards, to be sure that they will be fulfilled for entry, transit or their stay in certain countries and at the same
time, in order to create them the image of tourists or business persons [22]. Due to the complexity of this services,
illicit trafficking in persons doesn`t mean only the transport of illegal immigrants to countries of destination, but
sometimes consist in their exploitation, by submitting them to forced labor or prostitution, to the complete extinction
of debts [23]. The amount of debt can vary considerably, depending on these variables: speed of service, comfort
that benefited the person to reach the destination, nationality, means of transport and distance. Along with illegal
migration, sexual services market in the European Union is considered an important component of human
trafficking, explained both by significant revenue annually obtained by trafficking networks and the large number of
prostitution victims [24]. Much of the information on human trafficking come from reports prepared by specialized
institutions, a few studies analysing the phenomenon from an economical point of view existing today, reason why
we consider as appropriate the consolidation of the scientific knowledge in this matter and the creation of a solid
framework replacing the shortage of data in this area.


    4. THE COUNTERFEITING AND ITS DYNAMICS IN EUROPEAN UNION

     The dimensions of underground economy and growing demand for cheap consumer goods exhibit a wide range
of products to counterfeiting, phenomenon existing in the Member States of the European Union, in each sector of
activity and bringing significant damage especially to audiovisual and toys industry, cosmetics and pharmaceutical
products.
     Countries affected by such illegal activities bear considerable economic costs both in terms of job market, and
loss of income due to unpaid taxes, due to declare a smaller number of sales. A study by Business Software Alliance
and International Data Corporation (IDC), assessed the economic impact of IT in 70 countries worldwide and the
benefits that those countries could acquire by reducing software piracy and promoting intellectual property
protection [25].
     With reference to the conclusions of the study and considering the existing situation in the Member States of the
European Union, we conclude in 2005-2007 range, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe were most affected
by this phenomenon, software products being counterfeited in the rate of 68% - 71% in Bulgaria, 58% - 64% in
Greece, 57% - 58% in Poland, 68% - 72% in Romania, etc. with the considerable damages (as shown in Table 3).
     Losses in the EU countries as a result of developing markets of counterfeit products were estimated in a recent
study, from EUR 7.581 billion for clothing and footwear sector, EUR 3.017 billion for the cosmetics industry, EUR
3.731 billion for the sporting goods and toys and EUR 1.554 billion, losses in the pharmaceutical industry [26],
figures which outline an overview of the size of these markets.
     Developing trade made it difficult to identify counterfeit networks that cooperate at the international level,
facilitating at the same time, the use of modern communication, transportation and logistics, products being usually
produced, assembled and sold in different countries (the division of capital, production units, distribution channels
and sales markets). Assets of compliance with legislation can never compete, in terms of price, with the counterfeit
products, given the fact that illegal operators do not bear the costs of research and development or marketing of such
products.

                                                Table - 3: Software piracy

        EU countries                The dimensions of the             Damage reported (in millions of U.S. dollars)
                                        phenomenon
                               2007      2006       2005             2007             2006            2005
 Austria                       25%       26%        26%              $157             $147            $131

 Bulgaria                      68%         69%          71%          $63              $50             $41

 Great Britain                  26%       27%         27%         $1,837       $1,670                $1,802
 Denmark                        25%       25%         27%         $193         $183                  $199
 Finland                        25%       27%         26%         $160         $149                  $156
 France                         42%       45%         47%         $2,601       $2,676                $3,191
 Germany                        27%       28%         27%         $1,937       $1,642                $1,920
 Greece                         58%       61%         64%         $198         $165                  $157
 Italy                          49%       51%         53%         $1,779       $1,403                $1,564
 Netherlands                    28%       29%         30%         $502         $419                  $596
 Poland                         57%       57%         58%         $580         $484                  $388
 Romania                        68%       69%         72%         $151         $114                  $111
 Spain                          43%       46%         46%         $903         $865                  $765
 European Union                 35%       36%         36%         $12,383      $11,003               $12,048
 Worldwide                      38%       35%         35%         $47,809      $39,698               $34,482
     Source: BSA-IDC, Fifth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy                             Study, May       2008,
http://global.bsa.org/idcglobalstudy2007/studies/2007_global_piracy_study.pdf.

     Compared with other illicit activities, counterfeiting and piracy of products offer significant profits to organized
crime networks and relatively low risk in terms of sanctioning such acts. A good example in this respect, is the drug
trafficker who pays about $ 47,000 for a kilogram of cocaine, then building it with approx. $ 94,000 and getting a
return of 100%. At the same time, using the amount of $ 47,000, with a low risk, an entrepreneur can buy 1500
pirated CDs of Office program, the profit recorded from selling this product being superior, by approximately 900%
[27]. Given these conditions we believe the profit - risk report is attractive both to organized crime groups and
especially for extremist-terrorist organizations, who have no sophisticated means for raising funds.
     In our country the development of illegal markets could be interpreted from the perspective offered by the
democratization process and thus, integration into European and world economic circuit. Also, open borders,
accompanied by a relaxed customs control, encouraged in our country, at unprecedented levels, the movement of
people and goods, illegal migration, drug trafficking, theft and international traffic in stolen vehicles, trafficking in
counterfeit currency, trafficking in radioactive materials trafficking in works of art [28].
     Illegal markets constitute the source of income for organized crime. In the context of contemporary illegal
market conditions, it needs to be noted that with the restrictions of national borders declining and the increasing
mobility of goods, money and services, transnational business opportunities have created new global markets.
    The globalization of trade facilitated access of foreign markets and the advantages offered by technological
innovations led many enterprises to expand their activities across international borders.
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