UNICRI has a long tradition of research in organized crime, including its relation to counterfeiting. The topic of counterfeiting is an important part of the work of the Institute due to the growing interest of criminal organizations in this area. Counterfeiting presents a very favorable ratio between potential profits and assumed risks compared to other criminal activities such as drug trafficking. It also facilitates money laundering by providing a front into which the criminal organizations can invest the proceeds of their other illicit activities. For these reasons interest in it has grown exponentially amongst organized criminal groups.
Counterfeiting is now ranked amongst the highest income sources for organized criminal activities.