The fictionalized images of organized crime are far from the truth. The reality is less Hollywood and far more about fluid organized criminal networks profiting from the sale of illegal goods wherever there is a demand. These international illegal markets are anonymous and more complex than ever and each year generate billions of dollars.
Transnational organized crime is big business. In 2009 it was estimated to generate $870 billion - an amount equal to 1.5 per cent of global GDP. That is more than six times the amount of official development assistance for that year, and the equivalent of close to 7 per cent of the world's exports of merchandise.
On July 16, 2012 a new global awareness-raising campaign has been launched by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The campaign reveals the staggering size and scope of transnational organized crime.
Organized crime spares no part of the world and preys on the vulnerable through force and deception. Human trafficking victims alone number 2.4 million, for example, and each year 1.5 million people are victims of identity theft.
Multilingual campaign website contains a series of factsheets on the financial and social aspects of the different types of organized crime. Other issues will be added in the lead up to the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime which will be held in Vienna from 15-19 October 2012.
Click here to learn more about the campaign.