Shutting Down the Shadows: How We Can Disrupt Illegal Trade

Shutting Down the Shadows: How We Can Disrupt Illegal Trade

Posted by Steve Diebold

Illegal trade exacts a staggering toll on global economies and security. Annually, it takes over 1 trillion US dollars from legitimate commerce, as reported by the American Foreign Service Association. This figure encompasses stolen and counterfeit consumer goods alone, not accounting for the vast array of other illicit activities such as drug trafficking, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, arms dealing, wildlife poaching, and more.

Fortunately, there are effective strategies to combat illegal trade. In the United States, initiatives such as the USA-IT consortium unite private enterprises, non-profit organizations, and government agencies such as Customs and Homeland Security to collaborate and share information in order to prevent the trafficking of illicit goods.

These collaborations strengthen border controls, enhance intelligence sharing, and employ tools like security seals—how these seals help intercept and dismantle illicit trade networks will be discussed in the upcoming sections below. Similar cooperative frameworks exist globally, fostering regional alliances to safeguard economies and promote lawful commerce.

By leveraging such integrated approaches, we can disrupt illegal trade networks, safeguard public safety, and protect the integrity of global markets. This concerted effort not only combats immediate threats but also upholds the rule of law and promotes sustainable economic growth worldwide.

How Security Seals Combat Various Forms of Illegal Trade

In this section, we will explore how security seals play a crucial role in combating various forms of illegal trade. From counterfeit goods to illicit drugs and endangered wildlife products, security seals are instrumental in ensuring the integrity of supply chains and preventing unauthorized access, thereby effectively disrupting illegal trade networks.

Combating Counterfeit or Illegal Consumer Products

Security seals are critical tools in combating the illicit trade of counterfeit and stolen goods, particularly in transport and storage. They ensure the integrity of shipping containers, vessels, and storage areas, guaranteeing that contents remain unchanged from the moment of sealing until authorized access is granted. This deterrent prevents unauthorized substitution and provides immediate detection of any tampering, regardless of the reason.

When it comes to military assets, security seals play an indispensable role in safeguarding shipments. Each seal, with its own unique serial number, prevents weapons and sensitive equipment from being diverted to unauthorized users or destinations, allowing for tracking and verification throughout the military supply shipment journey. Any discrepancy in the seal number raises a red flag. This is why international standards and protocols mandate the use of robust security seals for military shipments, ensuring compliance and enhancing global security measures.

You can employ a wide array of seal types and technologies, ranging from basic plastic padlock seals to advanced cable seals and security labels with custom prints and holograms. These seals not only provide physical barriers but also enable tamper detection and monitoring, which are crucial for security and law enforcement efforts. By effectively utilizing and sharing seal data, authorities can mitigate losses and disrupt illegal trade networks.

Combating Illegal Drugs and Pharmaceuticals

Illicit drug trade and counterfeit pharmaceuticals pose significant global threats, prompting governments to deploy agencies dedicated to detection and reduction efforts. Law enforcement agencies, both domestic and international, along with organizations like Interpol, the United Nations, and various transnational trading bodies, implement extensive programs and policies to combat these dangers.

In these efforts, security seals are critical as they secure cargo conveyances containing legally traded substances during transit or storage. They serve as critical identifiers, essential for detecting illegal substances within shipments, vehicles, or vessels. Properly implemented seal protocols are integral to effective surveillance practices, as any discrepancy in seal integrity can signify potential security breaches.

In combating drug trafficking and counterfeit pharmaceuticals, security seals function similarly to their role in consumer goods, ensuring evidence integrity and preventing tampering post-seizure. Moreover, in the pharmaceutical sector, seals provide crucial tamper evidence, safeguarding the integrity of medicinal products from production through distribution. They play a vital role in tracking and tracing pharmaceuticals, enabling authorities to thwart illegal distribution channels effectively.

Security seals aid pharmaceutical companies in regulatory compliance by ensuring products remain securely sealed throughout their journey. This adherence helps prevent counterfeit drug circulation, protecting public health and maintaining regulatory standards. By leveraging advanced seal technologies and adhering to stringent protocols, stakeholders collaborate to safeguard pharmaceutical supply chains and combat the illicit trade that threatens global health and safety.

Combating Illegal Exchange of Wildlife

Numerous private and governmental agencies are actively combating illegal trade in wildlife and plants. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) leads these efforts, regulating global trade in approximately 5,600 animal species and 30,000 plant species. CITES collaborates with a myriad of other entities, both private and governmental, to monitor and control both legal and illegal trade. National wildlife control authorities work tirelessly to stop illegal wildlife trade within their borders, while the World Customs Organization (WCO) addresses issues of illegal transnational trade, focusing on wildlife, plants, and commercial agriculture.

Security seals are critical to ensuring the safe transport of wildlife and plants. For instance, the HS75 high strength plastic security seals are widely used to identify and register animal skins, fish, and animal parts intended for legitimate trade. These seals help verify and certify the legality of the wildlife trade, ensuring that only authorized specimens reach the market. Additionally, tagging live animals, plants, and fish with various plastic seals facilitates their legal passage to the market.

There have been several successful interventions using security seals to prevent the illegal wildlife trade. Seals, for example, track and verify the legal movement of endangered species, thereby preventing the introduction of illegally sourced specimens into the market. These measures not only uphold international trade regulations but they also protect biodiversity by ensuring the traceability and legality of wildlife transport throughout its journey.

Combating Illegal Weapons and Other Military Assets

The illegal trade in stolen weapons poses a significant risk, making security seals indispensable tools for military supply contractors and military entities worldwide. From the manufacturing plant to field deployment, these seals ensure stringent access control and secure transit and storage of equipment, weapons, and ammunition. This critical process helps prevent these assets from falling into the hands of unauthorized users.

Security seals play a multifaceted role in securing military shipments. While heavy-duty barrier seals like the AC&M model C-1 regularly safeguard munitions and other sensitive or dangerous assets, indicative seals serve as tamper evidence and facilitate meticulous record-keeping. Although seals alone cannot stop malicious arms dealers, their implementation significantly reduces the risk of legally produced military arms from being diverted during transit or storage.

International standards and protocols mandate the use of security seals for military shipments, reinforcing their importance in maintaining global security. Organizations such as NATO and the United Nations stipulate stringent requirements for sealing and tracking of military consignments to ensure their integrity and security.

American Casting & Manufacturing has been a proud producer of security seals for military use for over a century, holding ISO-9001 quality certification specifically for the manufacture of both commercial and military security seals. This long-standing commitment to quality and security underscores the vital role that security seals play in safeguarding military assets and preventing their illegal diversion.

Take Action Now: Secure Your Supply Chains with AC&M Security Seals for a Safer Future

Security seals are essential in combating illegal trade across various sectors, from counterfeit goods and pharmaceuticals to wildlife and military assets. They provide tamper evidence, ensure the integrity of shipments, and help maintain compliance with international standards. By leveraging advanced sealing technologies and robust protocols, we can significantly reduce the risk of illegal trade and its associated dangers.

For more information about our security seals or assistance with your specific needs, please visit our website at You can also contact our experts at, call 1-866-360-6748 in the US, or call 516-349-7010 from outside the US.

Remember, shutting down illegal trade requires a collective effort. Together, we can protect global supply chains, uphold the rule of law, and create a more secure world for future generations.