Transnational crime cited as $650 billion market

Illicit trade in goods, guns, people, and natural resources is a $650 billion enterprise, which most negatively impacts the developing world, finds a new report released by Global Financial Integrity. “Transnational Crime in the Developing World” evaluates the overall size of criminal markets in 12 categories: drugs, humans, wildlife, counterfeit goods and currencies, human organs, small arms, diamonds and other gems, oil, timber, fish, art and cultural property, and gold.

“While this report includes a monetary measure of the cost of these illicit activities, it also stresses that the activities associated with these illicit markets — human rights abuses, corruption, murder — extract a significant toll on the lives of people in these developing countries and undermines economic growth and good governance efforts,” said report author Jeremy Haken.

Of the 12 illicit activities studied, trade in drugs ($320 billion per year) and counterfeiting ($250 billion per year) were ranked first and second in terms of illicit funds generated. Another key finding of the report was that profits from illicit markets are making their way to transnational crime syndicates through vast international trade networks. The report also emphasizes a link between transnational crime and economic “underdevelopment.”

Both Costa Rica and Panamá were cited as having a relatively high percentage of illegal money flow compared to the overall gross domestic product.

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