In an effiort to raise awareness and educate consumers on the dangers of counterfeit goods, the Crime Museum in Washington (yes, there really are museums for everything!) launched a new exhibition last week entitled “Counterfeit Crimes: Are You Part of the Black Market”. The museum teamed up with the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) to create the new interactive gallEry which will be a permanant feature at the museum.
Fashion items on display include a range of Coach handbags, wallets and sunglasses and Timberland footwear. Many of the counterfeit items on display are next to the real item to “underscore the difficulty in distinguishing between them”.
Efforts to clamp down on counterfeits have ramped up in recent months. In March, the UN launched a campaign to educate tourists about the dangers counterfeits. The campaign aims to raise awareness about fake goods and to encourage travellers not to buy them. The initiative called ‘Your Actions Count – Be a Responsible Traveller’, is the product of three UN agencies – The World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“What many don’t realize is that the counterfeit trade is organized crime on a global scale, and the counterfeiters don’t care who gets hurt. We want the public to understand the real price of counterfeit goods,” says International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition President, Bob Barchiesi. “We are thrilled to be a part of this gallery – the first of its kind in the United States, following exhibits in Paris and Bangkok.”
One of the main concerns for consumers is that counterfeit products are not subject to the same health and safety tests that legtimate products are – this is particularly important when it comes to makeup and beauty products. With counterfeit make-up we don’t know what’s in it and how our skin will react. There have been reports of products containing some pretty nasty ingredients including lead, which can lead to kidney failure and, in high enough doses, death. Fake GHDs are another product we’ve heard rather alarming stories about – girls burning their hair off, melting skin and even electrocution.
Remember, fakes are never in fashion!