The true cost of buying fakes

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<ul><li> 1. 5th LEVEL READING AND SPEAKINGEOI REUSTHE TRUE COST OF BUYING FAKES The market in counterfeit goods has now become the biggest illicit sectorin the world, eclipsing the drugs trade. It is the fastest growing crime-wave in the world. Just a decade ago, the global market in counterfeitgoods was worth just 3 billion a year - today, it is worth more than 100times more. Three million people bought counterfeit clothes, sunglasses, handbags,watches and jewellery in Britain alone last year - part of a business,which is strong enough not to be affected by the most brutal economicstorm. A-list stars - such as Renee Zellwegger, Jennifer Lopez and NellyFurtado, have all been seen with fake designer sunglasses, dresses orbags, even though they could easily afford the real items. Police and Western intelligence agencies say that brutal organised crimesyndicates now monopolise the trade. In other words, anyone who buysa fake Prada bag or knockoff Gucci sunglasses is the final link in a chainthat includes criminals involved in extortion, prostitution, people-smuggling, murder and even terrorism. Fake clothes, handbags, watches, perfumes, videos, CDs and computerprogrammes - you name it, criminals will copy it. And these goods nowrepresent an astonishing one-tenth of all global trade. In Britain, the bulk of counterfeiting is controlled by British crime bosses,often with overseas connections to Chinese Triads, Italian Mafia, Serbiangangsters and Far Eastern crime syndicates.</li></ul> <p> 2. 5th LEVEL READING AND SPEAKINGEOI REUS Three-quarters of counterfeit items seized in Britain last year came from factories in China, staffed by children paid as little as 10 a week and working up to 18 hours a day. Since their fingers are small, they are better at the intricate stitching that makes fake designer items look so convincing. By day, some factories even produce genuine designer goods destined for sale in the top boutiques of London, Paris, New York and Rome. By night, some corrupt factory bosses bring in a night shift to make fakes. According to reports by aid workers, Chinese officials regularly accept bribes from factory bosses to turn a blind eye to child exploitation. Raids are seldom carried out. With the penalties for smuggling counterfeit goods far lower than for importing drugs, many crime gangs are using their sophisticated network of supply routes and middlemen to flood the market with fakes. Worried about the assault on their profits, designers such as Burberry and Adidas have now set up special units to fight back. As well as trawling internet sites for fake copies of their designs, some have also hired teams of forensic accountants to try to trace the money back to the leaders of the operation.DISCUSS IN GROUPS: DO YOU AGREE? 1. People who buy counterfeit goods must be prepared to accept the widermoral implications of what they are doing. When deciding to buy fakes,they are just thinking about themselves and what they want - they arenot thinking about the cost in terms of violence, criminality and loss toothers. 2. In our society, businesses are established overnight and vanish just asquickly. Stalls and shoppers come and go in a flash. Nobody can be surewho their neighbour is, or who his associates are or where the moneygoes. 3. Even if a seller and his fake goods were tracked down, another wouldspring up in his place. Quite simply, the trade has grown too big tomonitor, let alone abolish.</p>