The term, contraband, refers to certain items that cannot be exported or imported legally. This often includes goods that are illegal to possess. For example, stolen merchandise is often considered illegal to export or import. If contraband is found, it will usually be confiscated by law enforcement agents. The owners of the illegal goods will usually not be compensated for their losses.
Most countries have specific laws that determine what is and what is not contraband. These laws are usually kept very clear to prevent them from interrupting with free trade. However, often, contraband still manages to make its way into a nation. This is due to transportation techniques that involve stealth that are used to fool authorities. This practice is known as smuggling.
What constitutes an illegal export or import depends on the nation in question. However, most nations ban similar kinds of materials. Usually, this includes weapons, explosives, and illegal drugs.
Less dangerous possessions, however, may also be deemed illegal for transport. For example, transporting fruits, vegetables, and meat between certain countries without special clearances may be banned. This is often done in an effort to stop the spread of disease that can be transmitted through contaminated foods.
However, an item does not need to be banned specifically to be considered contraband in certain instances. For example, the items in question may have simply been obtained illegally. This is the case for stolen goods. It is also the case for items that were procured through fraud, forgery, or some other crime.
There may be other cases in which goods may be seized. This often happens during war time. For example, goods such as weapons or supplies may be moved from one nation to another nation that is engaged in an armed conflict. This behavior in nations that should be neutral in said conflicts is often looked down upon by the international community.
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