Global mafia nets $870 billion annually

Internationally-linked crime rings pull in six times the amount generated by global development aid, says UN report

Published July 16, 2012 1:43PM (EDT)

      (<a href=''>BortN66</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(BortN66 via Shutterstock)

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

A groundbreaking United Nations report today revealed that cross-border criminal activity generates $870 billion every year, more then six times the amount of global development aid.

Global Post

The United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime today rolled out the report -- the first of its kind -- in tandem with a global awareness-raising campaign meant to draw attention to the global effects of transnational crime.

Researchers found that drug trafficking is "the most lucrative" for international crime rings, fetching them $320 billion a year.

The $250 billion-a-year illegal counterfeiting business "is also a very high earner for organized crime groups," the report added.

Human trafficking generates $32 billion a year.

The environment also continues to be taken advantage of by criminal groups, with timber trafficking in Southeast Asia bringing in $3.5 billion annually, for example, and elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts illegally taken from Africa and Asia generating an annual $75 million, said the report.

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today said the money generated by these groups -- a figure equal to 1.5 percent of world GDP -- "represents one of the international community's greatest global challenges," according to Reuters.

By Kristin Deasy

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