There are an astounding 1.8 billion black market jobs globally—and the total U.S. illicit trade value is $625.63 billion. Some of the biggest markets for illegal items include body parts, exotic pets and animals, drugs, sperm and crude oil. The average value of a liver is $157,000—and a human body, on average, goes for $551,473. Kidneys make up a full 75 percent of global illicit organ trade. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10,000 illegal surgeries involving organs takes place every year.
There’s also a massive market for exotic pets—a real, live tiger can go for $50,000, while a gorilla can fetch $400,000. In the United States, there are more than five million people who abuse narcotic painkillers. Oxycodone and other prescription drugs are among the most abused drugs. There were 4,048 deaths due to prescription drug abuse in 2010. Strict DEA regulations force many people to get their drugs from the black market. You might be surprised to learn that there’s a large global black market for sperm. Sperm banks across the country quickly ran dry. With no legitimate source for sperm, people turned to the black market, but the black market gives no guarantee that the sperm is safe or STD free.
To learn more about what sells on the black market, check out the full infographic by Finance Degree Center.
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