According to Euromonitor International, while some effects of Covid-19 are similar across legal and illicit trade, for example, supply chain disruptions, others are promoting the growth of illicit trade in the broader global economy, causing governments and businesses to lose billions in revenue. In certain industries, transnational organized crime networks are taking advantage of ineffective regulatory frameworks, supply shortages, changing consumer preferences and price gaps to expand their illicit footprint.
Global illicit trade continues today despite best efforts to contain it by governments, businesses and international organizations. The economic impact of these illegal acts is immense. The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that over $2.2 trillion (3 percent of global GDP) will be lost due to illicit trade leakages in 2020.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has already caused an increase in illicit trade activities across a multitude of industries. Industries impacted include pharmaceuticals, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, PPE products, home and personal sanitizing products, luxury goods, beauty and personal care products. Other flows of illicit trade have also been boosted, such as human trafficking and the illicit drugs trade,” the report reads