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Smuggling and Black Markets

Smuggling and black markets are two different aspects of illegal trade. Smuggling is one of many ways to feed black market demand for illegal goods or services. Criminal entrepreneurs can also supply wholesale and retail black markets through theft and counterfeiting, to name but two alternatives. Smuggling takes place across borders—for example, migrant smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border—but such boundaries don't constrain black markets, which can be local, regional, national, international, or global in character. The variety of things traded illegally includes stolen goods, ration coupons, passports, diamonds, drugs, guns, tobacco, alcohol, human organs, sex, nuclear materials, information, and much more. Traders and their customers are just as diverse. The only thing these trades have in common is their illegality. The reasons for outlawing some ...

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