#13360256 at 2021-04-04 23:32:25 (UTC+1) Q Research General #16925: Elites: Rules For Thee, Not For Me Edition
Wonder if the "fake" and the real deals are coming from the same place?
The Fight Against Fakes
Child labor, terrorism, human trafficking: Buying counterfeit designer goods is hardly harmless, DanaThomas reports
Jan 9, 2009
Every time I give a talk on the luxury business today and I get to the subject of counterfeiting,the same thing happens. The room grows absolutely silent as I put forth the facts: It is estimated that up to 7 percent of our annual world trade $600 billion worth is counterfeit or pirated; that fakes are believed to be directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs; that everything from baby formula to medicine is counterfeited, with tragic results; that counterfeiters and the crime syndicates they work with deal in human trafficking, child labor, and gang warfare; and that counterfeiting is used to launder money, and the money has been linked to truly sinister deeds such as terrorism.
No one utters a word, not a sound, as I recall the raid I went on with Chinese police in a tenement in Guangzhou and what we discovered when we walked in: two dozen sad, tired, dirty children, ages 8 to 14, making fake Dunhill, Versace, and Hugo Boss handbags on old, rusty sewing machines. It was like something out of Dickens, Oliver Twist in the 21st century.
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Then I read the following passage from my book, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. "'I remember walking into an assembly plant in Thailand a couple of years ago and seeing six or seven little children, all under 10 years old, sitting on the floor assembling counterfeit leather handbags,' an investigator told me… 'The owners had broken the children's legs and tied the lower leg to the thigh so the bones wouldn't mend. [They] did it because the children said they wanted to go outside and play.'"
The audience gasps. From time to time, I see tears too. And afterward, I always hear the same response: "I had no idea." Always. Most consumers believe that buying fake goods is harmless, that it's a victimless crime. But it's not. It's not at all.
In the five years that I have been writing about this issue, I have seen two things happen: The illegal enterprise is getting stronger and more professional, and the consumer is slowly but surely becoming more aware.
In the past year, there have been some victories in the battle. Among the most prominent was Louis Vuitton's win against eBay in court in Paris this past June. (Counterfeiters have long used the Internet, particularly eBay, to sell their phony goods.) According to LVMH, the luxury-goods group that includes Vuitton, Givenchy, and Celine, 90 percent of the Vuitton and Dior items offered on eBay in the first half of 2006 were counterfeits. That's right: Nine out of 10 were fake. Most consumers have no idea. How would you know?
Vuitton pursued eBay over several major issues, including allowing vendors who flagrantly advertised that they were selling "replica Louis Vuitton" to hold auctions, misleading key words (e.g., when vendors stick the words Louis Vuitton in their listings to get more traffic on the post, though they aren't selling anything Vuitton related), and eBay's inaction against repeat offenders who were promoted as PowerSellers on the site. "We had a case where we had 930 shut-down requests on a vendor, and this vendor was a PowerSeller," Louis Vuitton's intellectual-property director, Nathalie Moullé-Berteaux, says. "It was a sign of eBay's unwillingness to take measures against repeat offenders."