Illicit Trade is an old phenomenon that has constantly innovated to renew itself, taking advantage of globalisation, economic vulnerabilities and Internet. The complexity of modern exchanges protects the ill doers. The development of means of transportation and communication facilitate their activity.
History teaches that societies always end up finding answers to such challenges. However, today, with the permanent innovating processes met in the different forms of Illicit Trade, it is necessary to learn how to renovate ways to address it, both preventively and judicially.
I.T.T.A’ s ambition is to foster this approach by mutualizing and coordinating the actions of all the actors in this field to better help enterprises protect themselves and advise the public sector in its regulating activity.
Illicit Trade is everywhere. From automobile spare parts to medical prostheses, or counterfeit batteries complying with no norms, and especially medicines, endangered species: the list is almost endless. Illicit Trades’s figures and budget, the people it employs, exceed those of drugs, human trafficking and arms smuggling. It totals several hundred billion dollars per year. The magazine Traffic reported recently that Illicit Trade of natural products alone amounts to $25 billion annually. Were these figures the GDP of any individual country, it could belong to the G20.
Illicit Trade’s supply chain, notably internationally, is in the hands of white collar criminals who orchestrate the production and transactions, organise stocking and delivering, bribe governmental authorities by way of grafts, protect themselves against other criminal gangs or public law enforcing agencies. As for the street retailing, under the counter sales, and more and more on social networks and small ads sites, Illicit Trade is often practiced by local thugs.
Illicit Trade has internationally been under the spotlights since a few years only. The O.E.C.D has done a survey about it and has set a permanent working group on this subject. It is also at the core of the concerns in the World Economic Forum, Davos. Interpol has identified it as a major criminal threat to the wold economy. Interpol on its side considers it a key problem and so does the World Customs Organisation. France, however has not so far paid the same attention on this phenomenon.
“ The role of our Association is to create a favourable context on these matters, open to all questions related to Illicit Trade. Contrary to Anglo-Saxon countries, such an experience did not exist still in France. Beyond the general objective of making the public opinion aware of this problem, we want to bring to all concerned entrepreneurial actors a comprehensive knowledge, easing a synergy of initiatives for a better protection of businesses” (Alain Juillet, I.T.T.A’s Président)