We all know getting into a business can make or break your entire economical status. You can end up going from dirty rags to even dirtier riches, or you could go from being a high flyer to a petty lowlife. One of the ways to get around that confusion is the illegal businesses that make more money than some of the most profitable legal businesses worldwide.

Here’s the most profitable illegal businesses from around the world!

1. Timber: $15 billion annually

Contrary to the claims of preserving the Amazon, there are widespread reports of unregulated and illegal logging activity, especially from Brazil and Peru, which is then sold over the world. This environment destroying practise constitutes 30% of the global timber trade.

Source: landreport

2. Illegal Wildlife Trade: Around $10 billion

Poaching and animal mutilation are done mostly for fur, traditional medicines and exotic pets. Things like tiger skins and rhino horns are a huge part of this unfortunate market.

Source: twitter

3. Illicit Drugs: $300 billion annually

The most lucrative illegal business in the world is worth a staggering amount per year, and that only includes the drugs that cross international borders. Basically Cocaine, which is made mostly in Colombia and Peru, and Heroin, manufactured mostly in Afghanistan, are worth a shit load of dough.

Source: colacherald

4. Illegal Organ Trade: Around $1 billion annually

It’s no secret that there’s a thriving black market for organs, especially kidneys. Economically weaker people in countries like Brazil, India and China get duped into selling their kidneys for a fraction of the actual price, which is then supplied to rich and desperate recipients in places like USA and Australia.

Source: r4platform

5. Black Arms Trade: Around $1 billion annually

Weapons such as AK47, grenade launchers and other arms that have been in circulation since a while are sourced from countries such as Russia and Austria and are sold almost exclusively to developing nations.

Source: dispatch

6. Blood Diamonds: Around $900 million annually

Precious stones sourced from places like Ivory Coast, Angola and Sierra Leone have been in the black market since ages. Despite constantly improving certification processes, UAE and the USA continue to buy these up.

Source: mining

7. Unregistered Oil Trade: $10.8 billion annually

Illicit oil, sold for either profit or for more political reasons like financing armed rebellion, is a boom illegal industry. The oil comes from places like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran.

Source: palatinate

8. Illegal Art Trade: Around $6 billion annually

You must have seen a couple of heist movies where a some Ocean’s Eleven types steal a priceless piece of art. The people who buy that art and sell it off to collectors are called fences. Anyway, there’s a whole market for this stuff.

Source: Chinadailyasia

9. Illicit Fish Market: $11.3 billion annually

Any fish stock sold in the international market that is illegal, unreported or unregulated counts as part of the illicit fish trade. Sounds kind of lame but anything making this much money obviously commands some pretty serious collateral.

Source: qzprod

10. Human Trafficking: $31.6 billion annually

One of the worst crimes, people susceptible to coercion, people who are kidnapped or somehow forced into this trade have the hardest lives, used as sexual slaves and abused and are usually brought from India, China and Colombia.

Source: community

11. Black market for Gold: $2.3 billion annually

Thanks to differing and extreme license and regulations required for the import of gold, the black market for gold has grown exponentially, usually under the control of ruthless mine owners.

Source: crisiboom

12. Counterfeit products: $250 Billion annually

Counterfeit goods are produced (predictably) in China, Taiwan, India and a couple of other countries. The money from these sales usually goes into furthering other criminal activities like prostitution and the drug trade.

Source: glogster

That’s a lot of money!