17 of the most valuable items on the black market

Drugs, weapons and human trafficking.

That's probably what comes to mind when thinking about the black market -- but the illegal trade is more varied than you may think, and it also encompasses household products like maple syrup and baby formula, both of which are extremely lucrative commodities.

But the rise of technology has led to an evolved "black market" -- and rather than exotic animals and tangible exports, data like credit card information and even streaming accounts are up for grabs.

Find out how much your Netflix password is worth on the black market and more unexpected items in the slideshow below.

Most valuable items on the black market
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Most valuable items on the black market


From alligators and pythons to lions and bears, rare animals are traded on the black market with huge profits.

The market is worth estimated $10 billion worldwide, according to CNBC, and the animals are either sold as exotic pets or butchered for their most valuable parts.

(Mark Kostich via Getty Images)


With the rise of microbreweries, beer snobs will stop at nothing to get their hands on the rarest brews. 

A collection of Goose Island varieties was listed online for a whopping $1,200 in 2014, according to Draft Magazine.

(Dave Shafer via Getty Images)


Inspired by images of celebrities on television, scores of people are heading under the knife.

On the black market, butt injections are extremely popular. Since the procedure can cost up to $20,000, many people embrace side channels for a low-cost -- and dangerous -- procedure, according to CNN.

(xmee via Getty Images)


Sperm shortages in the UK, Canada, China and more have led to a black market for sperm -- and it's as dangerous as it sounds. In addition to possible STD's, some sperm donors are actually having intercourse with women to impregnate them, rather than the better-known baster method. 

(iLexx via Getty Images)


Due to strict government regulations, there has long been an illegal market for crude oil. Oil-rich Nigeria in particular has illegal refineries along its coastline, causing oil companies to lose more than $1 billion a month

(TanawatPontchour via Getty Images)


The cyber criminals' black market is teeming with stolen data, including credit card information and Netflix passwords. A 2014 report even suggests that the market has become more profitable than the drug trade.

Online payment accounts can go for between $5,000 and $8,000, while your online streaming accounts are as cheap as $10 a pop. Basic credit card information can be purchased for just $5, according to a report by Intel.


Individual cans of formula can go for $10 each, which can be used to cut drugs like methamphetamine and heroin. The overall black market is reportedly worth several billion dollars, and retailers have even begun locking their formulas up due to high theft rates.

(DimaSobko via Getty Images)


Long, thick tresses are sign of beauty and health in many cultures, which is why many women are purchasing real hair extensions to bolster their appearances.

The highest-quality hair, cut from a human's head and is unprocessed, is called "virgin remi," but only accounts for 20 percent of extensions on the market, according to Byrdie.

With high-quality hair extensions going for hundreds of dollars, many people are stealing from hair salons and even collecting fallen strands from salon floors and beyond. 

(REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido)


Sea cucumbers, a sea creature gelatinous in texture, is a delicacy in Asia and can fetch $500 or more per kilogram when dried, but legal fishing licenses are hard to come by.

(Photo credit should read THEO ROUBY/AFP/Getty Images)


Vials of holy water are often sold as such -- but it's hard to verify their origins.

In 2011, a BBC investigation found that bottled water from a well in Islam's holiest pilgrimage site, Mecca, was being sold in the UK, even though it contained dangerous levels of arsenic.

(Douglas Sacha via Getty Images)


Japanese flight attendant uniforms, in particular, are in-demand for cosplay, pornography or even access to restricted airport areas. 

It was reported in 2010 that sets from Japan Airlines and ANA could fetch thousands of dollars online. 

(andresr via Getty Images)


Selling organs on the black market has been ubiquitous on TV and movies -- and in reality, it's a thriving business. Desperate donors can receive up to $5,000 for a kidney donation, while the organ can then be sold for up to $200,000. Oftentimes, organs are stolen or harvested from involuntary patients or newly-deceased persons.

(windslegend via Getty Images)


Passports are frequently stolen when traveling abroad, and depending on the document, it can be sold for $100 to several thousand dollars.

(webking via Getty Images)


Raw milk is a hot topic, with ardent locavores claiming health benefits and FDA officials countering with a slew of a health concerns like E-Coli and salmonella.

With unpasteurized milk illegal in many states, raw milk lovers have resorted to cow shares and coordinated illegal deliveries to get their fix.

(Photo credit should read MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)


Breast milk averages about $1 to $2.50 an ounce -- and with a 6-month-old baby consuming about 30 ounces a day, it can be a lucrative business for lactating mothers.

Websites like Only The Breast cater to these sellers and buyers who can't produce breast milk themselves.

(drawdrawdraw via Getty Images)


To run the Boston Marathon, you either have to qualify or pledge to raise money for a Boston Athletic Association partner charity.

However, several enterprising runners have gone a different route -- purchasing bibs for as much as $5,000 online

(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)


It doesn't seem difficult to get your hands on maple syrup, so it may surprise you to learn that the sticky stuff has a thriving black market.

In fact, experts say the maple syrup industry is similar to that of oil. 

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers controls nearly three-quarters of the world's market, but the cartel is facing a rebellion from farmers. Production quotas in Quebec, which don't exist stateside in Vermont, have led farmers to start selling the commodity under the table.

(ImageInnovation via Getty Images)


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