Somali pirates netted hundreds of millions of dollars between 2005 and 2012


Photo by U.S. Navy
Somali pirates holding the crew of a Chinese fishing vessel hostage. Photo by U.S. Navy

Pirates carrying out more than 150 hijackings around the Horn of Africa netted as much as $413 million between 2005 and 2012, according to a new World Bank study.

The study shows the financiers of piracy operations receive up to 75 percent of the ransom money. Low-level pirates, on the other hand, receive a standard fee between $30,000 and $75,000 — less than half a percent of an average ransom payment. Those who receive money spend it on items such as alcohol, expensive cars, but also on sex workers and trafficked girls.
“There is a need for a strong commitment by countries in the region to work together to monitor financial flows from criminal activities, including acts of piracy,” the study said.

The International Criminal Police Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime worked with the World Bank on the study.