Business is anything an individual does as his or her regular occupation, profession or trade. While we have myriads of generally accepted businesses in the world today, a lot of people still chose to make criminal activities their means of livelihood. As the population of the world continues to increase, without a proportionate increase in resources, human beings have continued to seek a means of survival and livelihood through the good, the bad and the ugly. It is a basic rule that whenever there are more people and few resources, then there will definitely be a fight between the two, whereby people take different routes to win – some being good and hard/slow while the others are bad and seemingly easier/faster. We are going to look at 10 of the most illegal businesses people currently engage themselves in to make a living. They are not only shocking, they are altogether cruel and lucrative beyond what you have ever imagined.
Smuggling can involve a series of different goods and services. It is basically the transportation of illegal goods, movement of legal ones through prohibited means or the trade in stolen goods. Most of the times, smuggling involves the movement of contraband goods out of or into a country. It is a business that has been existing from time immemorial. While talking about smuggling as an illegal business, our focus is not mainly on those who smuggle legal goods just with the aim of evading tax and duties, but on those who smuggle illegal or contraband goods and services. Most of the times, these illegal goods are packaged in containers of legal goods, or hidden in loads of accepted goods and transported to desired destinations. Drug trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal oil bunkering are known to be some of the most lucrative trades in smuggling. Unrecorded oil sales coming out of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Nigeria, Angola, and Iraq are estimated to be about 500,000 barrels a day, or 183 million barrels a year. Shell last year estimated that as much as 100,000 barrels of oil are smuggled out of Nigeria each day.
This is one of the illegal and dirty businesses in the world today. However dirty and illegal, pornography is more lucrative than many descent businesses. While some of the porn stars engage in the acts willingly, some others are victims of human trafficking who were smuggled from far away countries to engage in such unpleasant activities for money on behalf of their traffickers. Pornography accounts for the high increase of immorality and sexual abuse prevalent in our modern-day society. However, the brains behind this illegal business are making fortunes out of it and are expanding their horizons by the day both with and without the consent of the artists – whichever way works better for them.
8. Internet Crimes (Hacking/Data Leakage and Fraud)
Internet hacking and online data leakage are among the most prominent cyber crimes today. This ranges from activities done via computers, phones, to Automated Teller Machines. Hackers are just like thieves, spies and secret agents on internet just the way we have them in real life. They steal your information and then exploit this information through illegal ways. They sell your important personal data on internet to others. It includes your debit/Credit card info, e-mail addresses, bank account info, passwords, hard drive data and much more very important information. Also, by cloning debit cards and boosting the withdrawal limits, hackers are able to simply withdraw huge amounts of money from the bank. This type of illegal business in on the increase and more people are falling victim as the days go by.
Another aspect of internet crime is the one that involves monetary fraud and duping via the internet. This particular illegal business is one that a lot of us know. It goes by several local names depending on the part of the world where you find yourself. In Ghana it is called ‘Sakawa’, in Nigeria, it is called ‘Yahoo-yahoo or 419’, in some parts of Europe, it is ‘internet fraud or scam’, and so on. The ‘Sakawa boys of Ghana’ do not succeed only with the combination of wits, persuasion, subtlety, expertise and intelligence which are the normal characteristics of internet scamming; they also use some kinds of ‘abracadabra’. I mean ‘juju’ or call it ‘voodoo’ to trap victims.
Prostitution is prevalent in almost all states of the world and rarely has laws seriously enforced against it. In this situation, persons, mostly ladies give out sex for money. Those who have made it a full-time profession live in hotels, chalets or brothels as the case may be. Some victims of human trafficking are sometimes confined to places where they are used for commercial sex which also amounts to prostitution. At least 100,000 children are used as prostitutes each year as part of the $9.8 billion U.S. sex trafficking industry, according to a new report from anti-trafficking group, Shared Hope International. However, on a general note, prostitutes are usually pushed into the trade by problems like poverty, unemployment, drug addiction, extreme basic or survival needs, and some other personal issues.
6. Baby Factories
Baby making and selling factories are among the recently invented forms of criminal businesses trending in our society now. With the increased demand for adoption and other uses, fast evil minds thought out the idea of establishing homes for making babies and selling them out to unknown people. Most of these baby factories parade themselves as orphanages or hospitals but have the main underground business of making and selling babies against the voluntary desires of their respective mothers. While some of these pregnant girls voluntarily come to these homes already pregnant, with the aim of shielding themselves from the shame of friends and families, some others are full-time workers who live there by choice or by force making babies for sale. It is true that these mothers are paid for their babies but on several occasions, they’ll love to have their babies but just cannot.
5. Piracy, Counterfeiting and Forgery
These three are grouped together because they are all interwoven into one another. They all basically involve reproducing items that are in no way of the same quality with the original product and presenting or selling them with the name and trademark of the original. Piracy, counterfeiting and forgery may involve a lot of innumerable items or goods, ranging from documents, books and tapes, money, drugs, consumer and durable goods, clothing and accessories, etc. This illegal business is one of the most cruel as it drastically affects the image of the main producers, making their customers lose confidence in them. Most of the time, these fake goods are sold at slightly cheaper rates and thus, outsells the genuine ones. It has also done untold harm to consumers especially in the cases of drugs and consumer goods. A lot of people have also been duped and corruption made to be on the increase as a result of the use of fake documents. The World Customs Organization guesses that counterfeiting accounts for 5% to 7% of global merchandise trade.
4. Drug Pushing/Trafficking
Though we’ve talked a bit about drug trafficking while discussing smuggling, this illegal business is so colossal that it deserves a separate place in this article. The Illegal drug trade is a global black market that is dedicated to the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of drugs that are subject to drug prohibition laws. Drug cartels are very common in South America, especially Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. They are primarily responsible for more than half of the world’s cocaine and heroin production, which is estimated to rake in profits of around $88 billion annually. While the international drug trade is estimated to be worth over $300 billion a year, its market value is widely understated, because it does not include the profits of drugs such as marijuana and amphetamines which are typically produced and sold without necessarily crossing international borders. Based on revenue, drug trafficking ranks no.1 most profitable in the list of world’s illegal businesses. On the other hand, it is also the illegal business that attracts the longest jail term and in some cases, execution.
3. Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is one of the most common and lucrative criminal businesses in the world today. It is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, ritual, organ harvesting, etc, for the trafficker or others. According to the U.N., about 2.5 million people around the world are ensnared in the web of human trafficking at any given time. Also, this illegal trade in human beings is one of the fastest growing criminal activities globally, U.N. Special Rapporteur on trafficking, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo said recently. Human trafficking is a particularly cruel type of slavery because it removes the victim from all that is familiar to her, rendering her completely isolated and alone, often unable to speak the language of her captors or fellow victims. Organ harvesting is another lucrative aspect of human trafficking. kidneys are the most common organs that are smuggled for sale and they could be sold for as much as $40 000 each. It is true that many people willingly give up organs for cash, however, many others are scammed or forced into the procedure, or made to undergo unnecessary surgeries during which the organs are extracted without their knowledge. A recent World Health Organization study put the number of illegal operations at around 10,000 annually, which potentially makes this a multi-billion dollar black market industry.
This particular business is the one that fuels and facilitates all the other illegal businesses. No illegal business can move on smoothly without the great assistance of bribery. Bribery has enriched so many people who depending on their basic or genuine income will definitely be average individuals in their standard of living. Bribery has encouraged numerous inhuman activities in the world today that we cannot enumerate here and unfortunately, a lot of people live and are sustained by it on a daily basis.
1. Violence and Terrorism
This is the most bizarre and deadly criminal business which became prevalent in the society in the last few decades of increased wars and violence. Previously, violence and terrorism is only fueled by a deep desire for revenge and upholding of religious, political or personal rights and belief but strange enough, terrorist attack has turned out to be a means of livelihood for some individuals in today’s violent stricken society. A lot of people now voluntarily join terrorist groups for monetary gains. Some others chose to be violence and terror agents on behalf of others on issues that are of no significance to them just with the aim of receiving monetary rewards. The extreme case of this is that of suicide attacks in which the perpetrator is designed to die with the target victims. At the end, his family or survivors are compensated. It is almost unbelievable that billions are being spent today in so many countries in funding terrorists who waste avalanche of lives and properties on a regular basis. In some cases, the terrorists are camped and provided for on a daily basis by the masterminds.