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@Birgit Bollinger

International conference: Counterfeiting between organized crime, money laundering and labour exploitation

Within the framework of the Italian Anti-counterfeiting week

Rome, Italy -


During the Italian Anti-counterfeiting week organized by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development from 19 to 25 October 2020, an international conference titled “Counterfeiting between organized crime, money laundering and labour exploitation” has been co-organized by UNICRI with INDICAM (Institute of Centromarca for the Fight Against Counterfeiting), which promoted the initiative, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (Italian Patent and Trademark Office), and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The Italian Anti-counterfeiting week demonstrates the strong commitment of the Italian national authorities in the fight against and the criminal organizations that are behind this illicit activity.

Counterfeiting produces immense losses for legitimate rights holders and for Governments taxes and revenues. This growing phenomenon undermines the health and safety of citizens; and is linked to trafficking in persons. It also allows organized crime to obtain financial resources and diversify activities, and to launder illicit proceeds obtained from those crimes.

During the COVID pandemic criminal activities are on the rise due to the capacity of criminal groups to shift and adapt their tactics to the increased vulnerabilities caused by the global crisis. The main areas of interest for criminal organizations appear related to new risks and markets, including infiltrating the legal economy and expanding their control over the territory.  The pandemic has provided fraudsters with new opportunities as a consequence of the spike in demand for medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and hygiene products. This modus operandi leverages on the experience, established connections, and trade channels mastered by criminal organizations dealing with the trade of counterfeit products for decades.

For more than 12 years, UNICRI has enhanced knowledge on how counterfeiting acquired an increasing centrality for criminal organizations, which found in this activity an immense source for profits at low risk.

Over the years, UNICRI’s longstanding cooperation with EUIPO, the Italian Ministry of Economic development, Indicam as well as with several of the national authorities and international organizations, resulted in a series of joint activities that unveiled the involvement of criminal organizations in counterfeiting.

The conference will address the impacts of this phenomenon on society and its links to money laundering and labour exploitation.

To register: