Vienna - Criminality worldwide generates proceeds in the trillions of dollars each year, making crime one of the world's "top 20 economies", a senior UN official said on Monday
With the scope of global crime - and particularly organised crime - threatening emerging economies and fomenting international instability, Yury Fedotov called for concerted world action to combat the trend.
"We need to recognise that the problem requires a global solution," Fedotov, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes told reporters outside an international conference focused on preventing the exploitation of illegal migrants and other crimes linked to human trafficking.
"No country can handle this problem alone."
Fedotov said that "criminal business" earns those behind it $2.1 trillion - nearly €1.6 trillion - a year, which he said is equivalent to nearly 7% of the size of global economy.
In separate comments inside the meeting, he said that as many as 2.4 million people may be victims of human trafficking worldwide at any given time, calling it "a shameful crime of modern-day slavery".
Corruption is another concern of the meeting. Fedotov told the opening session that estimates put the amount of money lost through corruption in developing countries at $40bn annually.