Complex just published an in-depth expose, and accompanying documentary, entitled “Drugs, Guns, and Fake Kicks: Inside the Counterfeit Economy” which details how consumers’ thirst for bargains ultimately lines the pockets of human traffickers, drug dealers, and terrorists, including the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attackers who funded their deadly arsenal by selling luxury knockoffs on the streets of Paris.
Thanks to the evolution of ecommerce, the counterfeit fashion industry has transcended city sidewalks, and is now using every digital platform from eBay to Instagram. Involvement ranges from corrupt Chinese factory owners to the Italian mafia and various other bands of criminals from around the world, all of whom can evade authorities with tangled global supply chains, and bypass customs with small packages shipped directly to consumers — their newfound anonymity allowing them to profit off exploitative labor and use the revenue to fund other illegal activities.
According to Complex, the inconsistent pursuit of counterfeiters typically boils down to money, time, and public perception which still regards buying a fake to be a victimless crime or one that only hurts wealthy companies. As the article states, “Consumers have a choice to make in terms of where they spend their dollars. And I think that there are very few consumers who want to buy a counterfeit handbag with the idea that it’s going to sponsor somebody that’s going to blow them up one day.”
You can read the full article (and I highly recommend that you do) at Complex.