Stamping out Latin America’s illicit trade problem

April 01, 2021

One in four cigarettes consumed in Latin America are illicit—one of the highest rates in the world. For many, it would seem like an impossible task to stamp out such a widespread issue. But for Alain Vermaut, this is his mission as PMI’s head of illicit trade prevention for Latin America and Canada.

As part of STOP: ILLEGAL’s new interview series “Collaborating Against Illicit Trade in Latin America,” we will hear from a range of anti-illicit trade experts from across the region. Our aim is to examine the varying ways in which illicit trade affects Latin American consumers, society, and governments, and what is being done to eradicate the issue.

For Alain, the first key challenge is understanding the real scale of the problem. The illicit tobacco market in Latin America affects legitimate jobs, funds criminal activity, and results in roughly $6 billion in lost tax revenue for governments. 

In this first episode of the series, Alain looks at the impact the issue is having across the region and the work that is being done by public and private sectors to tackle it. Effective and modern regulations with transnational scope, as well as the cooperation across all sectors, he argues, is the right approach for all Latin American countries to effectively eliminate illicit trade for good.

Watch below to see the full interview:

  • Click here to watch the second part of this series “Collaborating Against Illicit Trade in Latin America,” featuring an interview with anti-illicit trade expert David Luna.
  • Click here to watch the third part of this series, featuring an interview with Crime Stoppers' Alejo Campos.
  • Click here to watch the fourth part of this series, featuring a conversation between Alejo Campos and Werner Ovalle, Guatemala's Head of Customs.
  • Click here to watch the final part of the series, a summary featuring all the experts interviewed from the public and private sector.

Written by STOP: ILLEGAL

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