By Michael Luker
In April 2016, the industry centered around the production and sale of fake sneakers was valued at four-hundred-sixty-one-billion dollars by CNN Money. A 2016 Complex documentary entitled, “Fake! Inside the Terrifying, Trillion-Dollar Bootleg Industry”, revealed that the top four most prevalently forged products are replicas of Louis Vuitton, Rolex, RayBan, and Nike, which is the most widely faked brand on earth. In October of 2016, Apple filed a lawsuit that later revealed that I-Phone chargers sold on Amazon were fake ninety percent of the time. Even the European Union reported as recently as last year that forged items composed five percent of their yearly imports.
Needless to say the business of making fakes is already huge and growing like kudzu.
Although the bootlegging industry may appear harmless at face value, little is actually known by the consumer public about this unregulated market. A question that needs to be asked more regularly is: where is this money going when a fake item is bought, and who is making the fakes?
In one case, the police raided a bootleg supplier factory and found that children were handcuffed to their machines. This is a particularly extreme example of the underbelly of the faking industry. However, due to the unpoliced nature of the business, the practice of child labor and other brutal acts are used regularly to ensure profit margins.
To think that people are using children, handcuffing them to a machine for hours on end, and extrapolating their suffering to monetary gain is beyond inhumane. Add in the fact that most of these children were kidnapped, forced to work, and may never see their families again, and it truly brings home the evils at play here. The bootlegging industry is anything but harmless.
In another instance a man by the name of Chérif Kouachi acquired funding for weapons by selling fakes on the street. One week later, he killed seven people and injured many more in the 2015 terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
These example prove the reasoning behind not buying fakes. You just simply don’t know where the money is going or what it is supporting. In fact, most profits from bootlegging have been traced back to people involved in the drug trade, human trafficking, the backing of terrorist organizations around the world. It’s not petty forgery for the sake of making a quick buck that you are supporting when you buy fake goods. In reality you’re supporting a far greater evil.
It is important to know what you’re buying before you buy it. If not, you could be partially responsible for the continuation of massive human atrocities being committed across the earth.