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United Kingdom and Italy includes prostitution and illegal drugs in GDP

Great amounts of money are spent on sex and illegal drugs every year around the world. United Kingdom and Italy decided to put a price on illegal activities and added it into their GDP.

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Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

According the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics narcotics and prostitution adds about $16.7 billion dollars to the economy. Overall illegal activities are just a mere 0.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). United Kingdom pushed to include this in their GDP to conform economy reporting over European Union. In Netherlands and Dutch prostitution and drugs are legal and reported in their GDP.

United Kingdom collect data through police seizures and other data to estimate how much drugs and sex contribute to their GDP. They even sent out surveys to drug dealer but they go unanswered.

Italy announced last week they were going to count sex and illegal drugs in GDP. This announcement prompted jokes in media such as “mafia economy”. The Brits and Italians are not the only ones measuring illegal business entities. Countries like Estonia, Austria, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and Norway do as well. Along with U.S. Nevada state includes prostitution in their state GDP.