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 United Nations official said on Monday, Reuters reported.
"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 the data for 2009.
Fedotov said that annually up to $40 billion is lost through corruption in developing countries, and illicit incomes 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," he said.
Criminal groups have shown "impressive adaptability" to law enforcement actions and new profit opportunities, a senior U.S. official said.
(China.org.cn April 25, 2012)