Good news, enterprising criminals; the black market isn't just limited to guns, drugs and hit men anymore. Thanks to the anonymity and global power of the internet, clandestine deals now have the potential to reach an international audience.
By avoiding government regulations, shirking taxes and continuing to profit on illegal contraband, dubious businessmen are raking in the money not by the millions but by the trillions. The Economic Journal recently reported that the black market accounts for ten trillion dollars worth of all the world’s informal markets, despite concerns for the law, the environment, and in some cases basic human decency. When Silk Road (an unapologetic online black market shopping site known for selling drugs and weapons) was shut down in 2013, the supply for illicit items slowed but the demand only increased.
The end result was an influx of peer to peer untraceable marketplace websites and forums with thousands of different products available for sale. A lot of these items are exactly what you’d expect; prescription and nonprescription drugs and narcotics, weapons and bombs, credit cards, stolen identities. But there are also a number of bizarre items coveted on the black market that makes you wonder how they made the list in the first place.
From common household products to animals so obscure you've probably never heard of them, the black market truly has something for just about anyone who's prepared to bend the rules.
10 Baby formula
Business is booming for black market sales of a certain white powder that brings much satisfaction to the user, but it’s not the kind you'd usually think.
Once organized crime lords clued into the fact that baby formula and infant nutritional supplements were one of the most shoplifted items in America, they learned quickly how to milk the system.
9 Japanese Flight Attendant Uniforms
Straight from the depths of a travelling salesman’s fantasy, Japanese flight attendant uniforms define the concept of ‘niche market’. At the height of their black market popularity in 2010, these sedate and understated uniforms were selling for more than $10,000 each on uniform fetish sites.
8 Boston Marathon Bibs
7 Human Hair
6 Monitor Lizards
5 Northern White Rhino Horns
4 Sea Cucumbers
2 Laundry Detergent
Thieves may like to play dirty, but they're really cleaning up when it comes to profiting from stolen cases of Tide laundry detergent.
A 100 fluid ounce bottle of liquid laundry detergent which usually retails for $12 goes for less than two-thirds of that price on the black market. In organized crime rings, offenders hire people to steal the product from drug stores and supermarkets, and then sell them on.
1 Maple Syrup
Canadians may usually be a polite bunch, but don’t mess with their maple syrup rations.
In what became one of the largest thefts in Quebec’s history, two men were arrested in connection with an $18 million dollar maple syrup heist in 2013. It’s clever criminality, considering that maple syrup sells for more than 13 times the price of crude oil on the black market.
The con men were able to remove a staggering six million pounds of syrup from a Canadian warehouse simply by siphoning the barrels, replacing them with water, and moving the goods to warehouses across the province. The crime is so notorious that Sony pictures has announced plans to make a Hollywood movie about the heist starring Jason Segel.
Sources: ibtimes, cultureunplugged, byrdie, theguardian, telegraph, wrcbtv.com
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