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The staggering numbers that reveal France's drug trafficking trade

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The staggering numbers that reveal France's drug trafficking trade
Photo: AFP
11:40 CEST+02:00
A new report reveals just how much the illegal drug trade contributes to the French economy each year. Here's what we learnt in figures.
The report was carried out by France's national statistics office Insee which announced at the end of January -- after several years of debate -- that it would start including the money spent on illicit drugs when calculating the country's gross domestic product.
 
Eurostat in 2013 asked EU members to factor in drug trafficking and prostitution to harmonise GDP measures across the bloc, where some countries such as the Netherlands had already been including the proceeds of prostitution and drugs in their national accounts.
 
Here's what we learned from the new report. 
 
(At least) €2.7 billion
 
This is the amount generated by drug trafficking in France every year. 
 
However the agency was keen to stress that the figure could have been underestimated.
 
"This figure is an evaluation," Ronan Mahieux, head of the national accounts department at INSEE told the French press.
 
"There is a risk of underestimation, because it is possible that households do not trust the interviewers who contact them," he added. 
 
€3.1 billion
 
This is how much France believes the French spend on illegal substances in a year.
 
Holiday couple find 20kg of cocaine in suitcase
File photo: Cocaine. AFP
 
€400 million 
 
The amount spent on imported drugs. 
 
Insee subtracted this figure from the estimated total the French spend on drugs (€3.1 billion) to calculate the value of the domestic drugs trade (€2.7 billion).
 
€1 billion
 
The amount generated from trafficking cannabis.
 
 
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€800 million
 
That's the amount of money generated by the trafficking of cocaine which is second only to the amount made by cannabis. 
 
0.1 percent 
 
The percentage of France's GDP generated by drug trafficking.
 
In January, The Local reported that France had said that it would start including the money spent on illicit drugs when calculating its gross domestic product, providing a statistical shot in the arm for the country's economy.
 
Eurostat argued that the drug trade as well as prostitution reflected commercial transactions carried out freely, and should be integrated into a country's national accounts.
 
France however drew the line at estimating the amounts generated by prostitution. 
 
Prostitution in the street is notoriously the work of people who are generally in an irregular situation, often underage and under the power of clandestine networks who have brought them to France," said Insee.
 
"These situations are more like sexual slavery than the voluntary exercise of a professional activity," the agency added. 
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