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Illicit: The Dark Trade

Airs Friday, April 8, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Counterfeit drugs seized in Bogota, Colombia

The world economy is being derailed by new networks of illicit traders, criminal groups that care less about specific products and more about profit margins.

Re-creation of a purchase of knock-off purses. "Illicit: The Dark Trade" shows how consumers are often complicit in illegal trade.
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Above: Re-creation of a purchase of knock-off purses. "Illicit: The Dark Trade" shows how consumers are often complicit in illegal trade.

Based on the best-seller "Illicit" by Dr. Moisés Naím, this film tracks the manufacture and sale of goods ranging from fake purses and DVDs to counterfeit pharmaceuticals that can have a devastating impact on human beings. It illustrates how even the most innocuous trades are connected in a global epidemic generating $3 trillion per year and unimagined human suffering. Naím believes illicit trade could be as great—or even greater—a threat to our way of life as terrorism.

"Illicit: The Dark Trade" reveals how hidden criminal networks cost untold numbers of jobs, kill and maim thousands of people and breed violence and corruption. The film also focuses on the role technology plays in both enabling and disabling illicit trade, and raises questions about whether authorities have coherent strategies to combat this new phenomenon.

In revealing how consumers are often themselves complicit in illegal trade, "Illicit: The Dark Trade" provides a timely look into a shadowy world that is relevant to viewers everywhere.

Video

Trailer: Illicit: The Dark Trade

Watch the full episode. See more Illicit: The Dark Trade.

Above: The world economy is being derailed by new networks of illicit traders, criminal groups that care less about specific products and more about profit margins. Based on the best-seller "Illicit" by Dr. Moisés Naím, this film tracks the manufacture and sale of goods ranging from fake purses and DVDs to counterfeit pharmaceuticals that can have a devastating impact on human beings.