Crime one of the world's "top 20 economies": U.N.

VIENNA Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:28pm IST

1 of 2. A robbery scene on a motorcycle is re-enacted during an exhibition at the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) course graduation, in the Mariscal Zavala military base in Guatemala City April 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez

Related Topics

VIENNA (Reuters) - Crime generates an estimated $2.1 trillion in global annual proceeds - or 3.6 percent of the world's gross domestic product - and the problem may be growing, a senior United Nations official said on Monday.

"It makes the criminal business one of the largest economies in the world, one of the top 20 economies," said Yury Fedotov, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), describing it as a threat to security and economic development.

The figure was calculated recently for the first time by the UNODC and World Bank, based on data for 2009, and no comparisons are yet available, Fedotov told a news conference.

Speaking on the opening day of a week-long meeting of the international Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), he suggested the situation may be worsening "but to corroborate this feeling I need more data".

He said up to $40 billion is lost through corruption in developing countries annually and illicit income from human trafficking amounts to $32 billion every year.

"According to some estimates, at any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of human trafficking, a shameful crime of modern day slavery," Fedotov said separately in a speech.

He also cited a range of other crimes yielding big money.

Organised crime, illicit trafficking, violence and corruption are "major impediments" to the Millennium Development Goals, a group of targets set by the international community in 2000 to seek to improve health and reduce poverty among the world's poorest people by 2015, Fedotov said.

Criminal groups have shown "impressive adaptability" to law enforcement actions and to new profit opportunities, a senior U.S. official told the meeting in Vienna.

"Today, most criminal organizations bear no resemblance to the hierarchical organized crime family groups of the past," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Brian Nichols said, according to a copy of his speech.

"Instead, they consist of loose and informal networks that often converge when it is convenient and engage in a diverse array of criminal activities," Nichols, of the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, added.

He said terrorist groups in some cases were turning to crime to help fund their operations: "There are even instances where terrorists are evolving into criminal entrepreneurs in their own right."

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Pending Reform

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Power Theft

Power Theft

India to invest $4 billion to tackle power theft  Full Article 

Debt Funds

Debt Funds

India monitors foreign flows into debt funds, may tighten rules  Full Article 

Bulgari Back in India

Bulgari Back in India

CEO: we shouldn’t have left India so we’re back  Full Article 

 Hindu "Modi-fication"

Hindu "Modi-fication"

Fears grow about Hindu "Modi-fication" of education  Full Article 

Weak Credit

Weak Credit

Hard to hit tax revenue target, credit weak - Jaitley  Full Article 

China Rate Cut

China Rate Cut

China surprises with interest rate cut to spur growth  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

RBI cautious on response to gold import surge  Full Article 

Economic Corridor

Economic Corridor

China commits $45.6 billion for economic corridor with Pakistan  Full Article 

Overseas Funds

Overseas Funds

RBI says overseas borrowed funds can be parked with banks in India  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage