Miami, Dic. 18.– Illegal trade is a growing threat to our national security and impacts every law-abiding American. It fuels the 2.2 trillion dollar-a-year industry of transnational crime. It empowers criminal organizations to steal money from businesses and governments.
The criminals who engage in illegal trade are cunning and violent and commit murder to hold and expand their illicit markets. Operating with such impunity enables these groups to fund their operations and establish and sustain trade routes for trafficking across the country. They are nimble enough to avoid law enforcement, enterprising enough to continually establish new revenue streams, and are dynamic in the execution of their criminal enterprises.
While the buying and selling of counterfeit goods are often seen as “petty” or “victimless” crimes, nothing could be further from the truth. Regardless of the commodity—whether it’s luxury purses, illicit tobacco, or pirated software—they’re often connected to criminal and terrorist groups. The criminal enterprises that traffic in these goods also traffic more dangerous and vile goods, like drugs, guns, and even people.
And while illegal guns and drugs are undoubtedly impacting our communities, the horrific crime of human trafficking cannot, must not, be overlooked. This form of modern-day slavery and exploitation occurs all over the world, including here in the United States—in our big cities, suburbs, and even in rural towns. Every year in the U.S., thousands of human trafficking cases are reported—but many more go unnoticed. It is estimated to be a $150 billion industry and is the fastest growing criminal enterprise of the 21st Century.
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