The 2016 World Drug Report stated that the deepweb is fueling an international drug trade. According to Stijn Hoorens and David Décary-Hétu, the claim is not reinforced by empirical evidence. RAND Europe and the Universities of Montreal and Manchester conducted a study that ultimately disproved the 2016 WDR’s claims.
Global law enforcement agencies routinely arrest succesful deepweb vendors, indicating there is no shortage of online drug transactions. Many arrested vendors were able to tap into revenue streams that would have been nonexistent if not for the deepweb. There is no disputing that international transactions are a commonplace on darknetmarkets. However, researchers believe that such drug trade has had no substantial impact on global drug markets.
Judith Aldridge from the University of Manchester, David Décary-Hetu from the University of Montreal, and Stijn Hoorens from RAND conducted a massive deepweb scrape. The scrape contained data from 50 marketplaces and independent shops with a focus on both vendor and buyer demographics. Similar to recent findings from Monica Barratt and Aldridge, the RAND scrape shows online drug trade tripling since 2013.
Hoorens and Décary-Hétu write “but how global is this trade?”
The researchers found that marketplaces are