Global Flows of Transnational Organized Crime
Trafficking and transnational organized crime (TOC) contribute directly and indirectly to violent conflict. The detrimental impacts of TOC are increasingly recognized, as are the negative ripple effects of various illicit flows such as drug, human, and natural resource trafficking, smuggling of migrants, illicit trade of firearms and wildlife, counterfeit medicines, and cybercrime.
The United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change has identified TOC as a top priority, on par with civil wars, nuclear weapons, and terrorism (Comolli 2017; UN 2004).
The financial consequences of TOC are serious. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that in 2009, TOC generated US$870 billion, equivalent to 1.5 percent of the global GDP.
Trafficking of drugs, arms, and people—the most lucrative manifestations of transnational organized crime—generates large criminal proceeds. Illicit drugs alone account for 17–25 percent of the total generated by TOC. It is difficult to measure illicit financial flows, such as money that is illegally earned, transferred, or used and that crosses borders, including transfer pricing and tax avoidance by multinational corporations. Still, Global Financial Integrity estimates that 15 low- and middle-income countries lose almost US$1 trillion per year and lost US$7.8 trillion from 2004 to 2013 (Spanjers and Salomon 2017). The yearly amount of illicit financial flows from lowand middle-income countries exceeded the sum of FDI and official development assistance that those countries received in 2013 (Spanjers and Salomon 2017).
source: World Bank Data (Pathways for Peace publication)