Sex. Drugs. Exotic animals. Human organs. With the right amount of money, they’re all there for the taking—and much closer than you’d want to think.
Crossing the globe from Asia to Africa, to the Americas and Europe, our host, Nelufar Hedayat, goes under the radar and just out of sight to track down these thriving black marketplaces. What Nelufar finds is a world of profit-driven dealers, compliant middlemen, bribe-taking officials, poachers and smugglers who operate vast transportation networks, packaging factories, safe houses…all the while moving enormous amounts of money.
The numbers surrounding the world’s underground markets tell a story equal parts horror and human. In the last 40 years, 95% of the world’s rhino population has been lost. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals have captured $200 billion on the black market. And perhaps most alarming, human trafficking has reached dizzying highs—or perhaps more appropriately, staggering lows—as a $32 billion global industry.
Plain and simple, if there’s a demand for it, it can—and will—be trafficked.
In each of the eight, one-hour episodes Nelufar traces the supply chain of one good from consumer to source and finds that the illegal world is often closer to the legitimate one that you might think. She explores the causes and effects of trafficking: species hunted to near extinction; miners forced to pay protection money to terrorists; people forced by poverty to sell their organs.
Travelling by plane, taxi, boat and rickshaw, Nelufar makes her way through bustling markets, down dingy alleyways and into more than a few dead ends, as we witness every step of her investigation. In the world The Traffickers shows us, we’ll find more questions than answers—and perhaps see that things are not as black and white as they first might seem.