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UN: Transnational crime pulls in $870 billion a year

Internationally-linked crime rings net nearly $9 bil a year, six times the amount generated by global development aid, says a new UN report.

Drug moneyEnlarge
Drug agents follow the money (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

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. 

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. 

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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

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/120716/un-transnational-crime-pulls-870-billion-year