19 September 2012 - A UNODC campaign video to raise awareness about transnational organized crime has been viewed online by more than 60,000 people worldwide and aired on television stations such as Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle, Vox Africa and Spanish TVE since its launch in July. The video will be shown at this year's pre-Oscar screening sessions hosted by Variety Magazine in New York and Los Angeles, with further broadcasting planned via other international media, including CNBC.
The video is part of an extensive multilingual campaign available at www.unodc.org/toc, which is being rolled out through online channels such as YouTube, Weibo, Facebook and Twitter and by international broadcasters. The campaign illustrates the key financial and social costs of organized crime and includes fact sheets containing recent statistics on various crimes.
With a turnover estimated to be around $870 billion a year, transnational organized crime is an enormous illegal business that is a real threat to peace, human security and prosperity. $870 billion is worth more than six times the amount of official development assistance and is comparable to 1.5 per cent of global GDP, or 7 per cent of the world's goods exports.
Transnational organized crime encompasses virtually all serious profit-motivated criminal actions in which more than one country is involved. Such crimes include drug trafficking, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, money-laundering, trafficking in firearms, counterfeit goods, wildlife and cultural property and even some forms of cybercrime.
Generating an estimated $320 billion a year, drug trafficking is the most lucrative form of business for criminals. Counterfeiting, which generates $250 billion a year, is also a very high earner for organized criminal groups. Trafficking in persons brings in about $32 billion annually, while some estimates place the global value of smuggling of migrants at $7 billion per year. The environment is also exploited: trafficking in timber generates revenues of $3.5 billion a year in South-East Asia alone, while elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts from Africa and Asia yield $75 million annually in criminal proceeds.
Transnational organized crime knows no boundaries; it is an ever-changing industry, adapting to markets and creating new forms of crime. The human cost is substantial, with countless lives lost each year through drug-related health problems and violence, deaths caused by firearms and the unscrupulous methods of human traffickers and migrant smugglers.
The UNODC campaign illustrates that, despite posing a global threat, the effects of transnational organized crime are felt locally. Organized crime groups often work with local criminals, which leads to an increase in corruption, extortion, racketeering and violence. Criminal groups can destabilize countries and entire regions, undermining development assistance.
Progress in international efforts to address transnational organized crime will be the focus of the sixth session of the biennial Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which will be held in Vienna from 15 to 19 October. The Conference was established to improve the capacity of States parties to combat transnational organized crime and to promote and review the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols.