Peruvian gang members are accused of killing five humans and draining their fat for sale to cosmetics manufacturers in Europe. Do you ever wonder what else is currently being sold on the black market? Did you know you are a participant?
Human Fat on the Black Market
CBS News – quoting the AP — reports that Lima police officials arrested a Peruvian gang of black market profiteers that allegedly killed about five humans and then drained their fat. The human fat was collected – sometimes in soda bottles – and supposedly sold for as much as $60,000 per gallon to cosmetics firms located in Europe.
Black Market Breast Milk
Earlier this year, Daily Telegraph writer Xanthe King exposed the Australian New South Wales black market for breast milk. Desperate women unable to produce their own breast milk — but unable to receive any supplies from mothers’ milk banks – opted for buying unscreened breast milk from private parties. Of course, the United States also sees its own private sale of breast milk, frequently to the tune of about $1.90 per 20ml.
What Sells in an Underground Economy?
Havocscope – a data gathering organization that compiles information on illegal black market activity – reveals that America leads the pack with a black market economy valued at $310.6 billion. It is interesting to note that Italy comes in second, with Japan, China and Canada filling up the top five spots. The United States’, Japan’s, China’s and Canada’s underground economies thrive on counterfeited and pirated consumer goods. Italy’s black market is dominated by illegal drugs.
Worldwide, Marijuana ranks first in the underground economy. It is closely followed by counterfeit technology products and also pharmaceutical as well as prescription drugs. Fifth on the list is cocaine. Organ trafficking brings in roughly $50 million worldwide, with kidney donors making about $5,000 per organ. Human body parts rank lower but still bring in a tidy profit.
Are You Participating in the Black Market?
The odds are good that you are already a customer of the underground economy, even if you contribute to its success unknowingly. Flea market stands with counterfeit purses and belts are usually crowded with shoppers; you ask no questions, and the vendors tell you no lies.
Street corner vendors in Los Angeles sell produce and flowers; door to door handymen offer quick one time yard work, trash removal and paint jobs. Even the gardener or contractor you hire might just be enlisting the cheaper labor of illegal immigrants to put a roof on your house or a lawn in your backyard.
And who knows what is in that new European skin moisturizer you just bought on the Internet!