Trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting

About the programme

At INTERPOL, we are working to identify, disrupt and dismantle transnational organized networks behind the trafficking in illicit goods.

Trafficking in illicit goods, is a generic term used by INTERPOL to describe all types of illicit trade. It includes such practices as counterfeiting (trademark infringements), piracy (copyright infringements), smuggling of legitimate products and tax evasion. Selling fake or counterfeit products as the real thing is one aspect of this crime; so is selling genuine goods on the black market to avoid paying taxes. By avoiding regulatory controls the criminals behind these activities typically peddle often dangerous goods with a complete disregard for the health and safety of consumers. The phenomenon has grown to an unprecedented level, posing tremendous risks to society and the global economy.

All levels of society are impacted by trafficking in illicit goods. For example, counterfeiting harms businesses which produce and sell legitimate products, governments lose tax revenue from products manufactured or sold on the black market, and consumers are at risk from substandard products.

The role of organized crime

A clear link has been established between the trafficking of illicit goods and transnational organized crime. Criminal organizations are attracted by the lucrative profits involved in trading counterfeit or fake goods, or in trading legitimate goods through illicit channels. The criminals involved manufacture and trade illicit goods on a regional and increasingly global scale.

Organized crime networks exploit new technology, differences among national regulatory regimes and links between the global economic, finance and transportation systems for their own gain. They use the profits to fund other criminal activities such as drug trafficking, people smuggling and robbery.

INTERPOL's response

Our main activities are as follows:

  • Operations: we support regional and global operations to break up the networks behind trafficking in illicit goods and to remove dangerous  and sub-standard goods from circulation.
  • Capacity Building and Training: we deliver clear, consistent and specialized training programmes under the umbrella of the International IP Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC). These enable investigators to effectively combat current and emerging threats posed by all types of trafficking in illicit goods.
  • Raising awareness: Our global awareness campaign uses online and offline communications channels to raise global awareness and understanding about the links between trafficking in illicit goods and the funding of transnational organized criminal networks.
  • Legal assistance: we provide technical legal assistance (legislative drafting and training) to countries at the request of their respective governments.

We facilitate the sharing of intelligence on trafficking in illicit goods via INTERPOL’s secure police communications system. Data is analysed in order to produce relevant crime reports and to better target our on-the-ground interventions in partnership with police, customs, regulatory bodies and the private sector.

Additionally, we provide a central reference point on trafficking in illicit goods for all INTERPOL member countries and public and private stakeholders. We work to build partnerships with a wide range of representatives across sectors in order to facilitate a multidisciplinary response to this complex issue. We currently partner with more than 40 different industry sectors and a number of cross-industry associations and representative bodies.

As part of this, we organize and participate in a number of international and cross-sector events and conferences. We are interested in cooperating with law enforcement authorities, the public and private sectors in the fight against trafficking in illicit goods. If you represent one of these entities and would like to have further information please contact us.

20 octobre 2015

Border security across Southeast Asia focus of new EU-ASEAN programme led by INTERPOL

23 septembre 2015

Global action against intellectual property crime focus of international conference

21 septembre 2015

Une opération menée en Amérique du Sud cible les réseaux de criminalité responsables de la contrefaçon

13 juillet 2015

Les autorités égyptiennes saisissent des armes à feu, de la drogue et des œuvres d’art volées dans le cadre d’une opération ciblant les marchandises illicites

25 juin 2015

La campagne Turn Back Crime d’INTERPOL distinguée à l’occasion de la Journée mondiale anticontrefaçon

01 juin 2015

Saisie de 60 millions d’USD de contrefaçons lors d’une opération menée sur tout le continent américain et dans les Caraïbes

19 mars 2015

INTERPOL hosts global music industry anti-piracy conference

16 février 2015

Saisies record d’aliments et de boissons illicites au cours d’une opération INTERPOL-Europol

31 décembre 2014

Saisie de contrefaçons d’une valeur de 37 millions d’euros lors d’opérations coordonnées par INTERPOL dans toute l’Europe

24 novembre 2014

Une conférence pour fédérer les actions régionales en matière de lutte contre les atteintes à la propriété intellectuelle au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique du Nord

23 octobre 2014

Un séminaire juridique INTERPOL renforce la lutte contre le commerce illicite dans la région du Golfe

23 septembre 2014

Harnessing global efforts against counterfeiting and illicit trade focus of international conference

22 septembre 2014

Une opération INTERPOL aboutit à la saisie de faux produits d’une valeur de 50 millions de dollars dans toute l’Asie

11 septembre 2014

L’utilisation des outils juridiques aux fins de la lutte contre le commerce illicite et la contrefaçon est le thème central d’un séminaire INTERPOL en Pologne

11 juillet 2014

Dangerous fake goods seized in INTERPOL operations across Eastern and Southern Africa

04 juillet 2014

Moldova police seize smuggled snake venom

25 juin 2014

Kuwait requests INTERPOL Purple Notice after fake car parts used to smuggle drugs

04 juin 2014

Le renforcement des moyens juridiques de combattre le commerce illicite et la contrefaçon au centre d’un séminaire INTERPOL au Paraguay

15 mai 2014

Des centaines de perquisitions menées dans toute l’Amérique du Sud permettent la saisie de contrefaçons d’une valeur de près de 27 millions d’USD

03 avril 2014

Un guide pratique INTERPOL souligne les liens entre le commerce illicite et la criminalité organisée

About the INTERPOL Trafficking in Illicit Goods programme

INTERPOL Operation Jupiter VI (2014)

Operation Al Shaheen photo report (2014)