Friday, August 16, 2013

Smugglers in the Night

In World War II the 'passeurs' - the men and women that helped Jews, downed allied aircrew and young French men who did not want to do forced labour, escape to Spain along ascape lines like the Freedom Trail, were often smugglers. Smugglers were ideal because they knew the mountains well and were skilled in staying one step ahead of the security forces.

Smugglers still exist and smuggling goods across the Pyrenees is still going on today. Differing tax levels lead to price differentials in different countries. When the countries are seperated by a common border 'leakage' of goods across the border from the low price to the high price country is possible and a strong financial incentive exists to smuggle.

Cigarettes in Spain are half the price of cigarettes in France. A 20kg sack of cigarettes smuggled into France from Spain can make you 1500 euros on the black market. Customs teams have people on the gound in the mountains attempting to stop the trafficking.

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