THE UN has launched a campaign to highlight the threat posed by the multibillion dollar operations run by organised crime groups worldwide.
International crime rackets pull in an estimated annual turnover of 710 billion euros ($A854 billion), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a statement on Monday.
That sum was the equivalent of 1.5 per cent of global GDP or six times the amount officially spent on development aid around the world, it added.
“Transnational organised crime reaches into every region and every country across the world,” said Yury Fedotov, executive director of UNODC, which is based in Vienna.
“Stopping this transnational threat represents one of the international community’s greatest global challenges,” he said.
UNODC’S multimedia campaign will underline the huge sums of money involved in organised crime, which covers everything from drug and arms trafficking to cyber crime to the smuggling of migrants.
“Crime groups can destabilise countries and entire regions, undermining development assistance in those areas and increasing domestic corruption, extortion, racketeering and violence,” said UNODC’s statement.
The agency identified drug trafficking as by far the most lucrative trade for criminals and estimated it earned $A313 billion a year.
The counterfeiting of goods, it said, brought in $A245 billion.
Human trafficking and migrant smuggling earned an estimated $A38 billion a year and while trading of ivory and animal parts generated $A3.5 billion in criminal revenue.
According to the World Health Organisation, around one per cent of the world’s medicines were thought to be counterfeit, a figure which rose as high as 30 per cent in parts of Asia, Africa and South America.
The campaign will go out on Twitter, Facebook and the social networking site Google+ as well as on the dedicated site www.unodc.org/toc.