Yuri Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), pointed to crime as a major problem in the drive for global development at the 21st session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

[adsenseyu1]As we move towards 2015,” he said “and taking stock of the Millennium Development Goals, there is a growing recognition that transnational threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking, violence and corruption are major impediments to their achievement.

He went on to say that weak and vulnerable countries were at particular risk from the effects of ‘transnational organised crime’ before outlining some of the work his organisation was engaged in to combat it.

These countries, some devastated by war, others making the complex journey towards democracy, are preyed upon by crime. As a result, organized crime flourishes, successes in development are reversed, opportunities for social and economic advancement are lost. Today, the rule of law, good governance, human rights, and economic development are all threatened by transnational organized crime. Where crime thrives, the rule of law is weak.” Said Mr Fedotov.

He also said that “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 is also quoted in the Telegraph as saying that crime generated some $2.1 trillion a year (3.6% of global GDP) making it “…one of the largest economies in the world, one of the top 20 economies,”

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Mr Fedotov said that new programmes needed to be developed to improve anti-money laundering measures as well as address corruption and the trafficking in, people, arms and wildlife.

But consider that while crime costs the world it also provides many millions of people with legitimate employment and business opportunities. Just think how much money is spent globally on crime prevention, detention and enforcement. Police forces, security guards, burglar alarms, safes, vaults, back-office personnel, CCTV the list goes on. In fact, arguably, without crime our economy would collapse overnight. Even Mr Fedotov’s job relies on the existence of crime.

Yuri Fedotov by Lars Plougmann

Yuri Fedotov by Lars Plougmann

Image by Lars Plougmann (flickr.com) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons