Worldwide 06 Mar 2014

The UN’s campaign: ‘Counterfeit: Do not buy into organized crime’

On January 14, 2014, a new global campaign was launched by the UN to raise awareness of counterfeit goods and their link to transnational organized crime.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are behind the campaign – “Counterfeit: Do not buy into organized crime”. The campaign is built around a new public service announcement, “Look Behind “, which has appeared in various media and will be broadcasted by several international TV stations from January onwards. The campaign informs consumers that the purchase of counterfeit goods can fund organized crime groups, may put consumers’ health and safety at risk and may contribute to other ethical and environmental problems.

The campaign encourages consumers to think about who and what is behind the production of counterfeit goods in an effort to increase understanding of the diverse effects of this illegal trade, which each year amounts to approximately 250 billion dollars. With a combination of high profits and low penalties for those who counterfeit and a greater social tolerance compared to other crimes, the illegal trade in counterfeit goods is an attractive alternative way to make money for organized crime groups. Sales of counterfeit goods exist today in extreme quantities, not only through regular venues but also through Internet sales.

Counterfeiting is a crime that affects all levels of society. From the sometimes illegal and unethical labor used to produce counterfeit goods, to the harmful and potentially deadly hazards associated with these products (for example pharmaceuticals, car-parts or chemical compounds). There is also the fact that counterfeiting is used to finance other organized criminal activity (e.g. though money laundering). Raising awareness is an important step in the fight against this illegal activity. When the public is aware of the impact that counterfeiting causes, they are much less likely to buy counterfeit goods and thus unintentionally fund organized crime.

The public is encouraged to actively support the campaign and to help raise awareness of the link to organized crime. The campaign also informs about the other unethical aspects of the illegal counterfeit operations.

Visit www.unodc.org/counterfeit/ for more information about the campaign.

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