Global Terrorism Relying on Illicit Trade of Cigarettes

Trade

FICCI recently launched its report at MASCRADE 2017, titled Illicit Trade: Fuelling Terror Financing and Organised Crime. According to this report, many terrorist organisations, including Al Qaida, Hezbollah, Lashkar-e-Tayiba, and the Irish Republican Army, depend on illicit trade for financing up to 20% of their terror operations.

The report also said that the major terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Irish Republican Army source income from the illicit trade of cigarettes for their terror activities.

D-Company, a terrorist organisation in India, is thriving on the black market of counterfeit goods in the country.

Shedding his views on the same, Anil Rajput, chairman of FICCI CASCADE said, “It has now been established beyond doubt that illicit trade is the fuel that energises the terror machine. In today’s time, the world’s largest and most notorious terrorist organisations are relying on the proceeds from illicit trade to give shape to their evil ideas. It is my firm view that to conquer this menace, all stakeholders will have to collectively put their might behind the cause.”

He further added that counterfeiting provides terrorists with an opportunity to quickly finance themselves under the radar of authorities. The smuggling and counterfeiting of cigarettes have been found to account for more than 20% of criminal funding sources for terrorist organisations.

The report has made four main recommendations to control illicit trade which are as follows:

1. Better awareness about counterfeit and smuggled products through government initiatives
2. The partnering of government and industry to run campaigns and reduce the market for counterfeit and pirated goods
3. The development of task forces to check the growth of illicit trade and links between terrorism organised crime and illicit trade
4. Moves to draw a balance between government revenue needs through taxation and the incentives illicit market gets through increased taxes on goods