[JURIST] The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website] on Thursday released a report [text, PDF; press release] detailing the globalization of organized crime [JURIST report] and its threat to international security. The report specifically addressed the global economic impact of human and drug trafficking, sale of illicit firearms, piracy, identity theft and the illegal exploitation of natural resources. The report found that while countries such as Afghanistan and Colombia supply the majority of the world's illegal drugs, the profits from the drugs are primarily found in the countries where the drugs are being sold. Human trafficking is reported to generate a profit of USD $3 billion, with 140,000 victims being exploited in Europe alone. Piracy has reportedly doubled over the past year resulting in an annual income of US $100 million, the majority of which goes to organized crime. Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UNODC, announced the findings to a special meeting of the UN General Assembly and warned of its possible implications [press releases], stating:
Today, the criminal market spans the planet: illicit goods are sourced from one continent, trafficked across another and marketed in a third. Transnational crime has become a threat to peace and development, even to the sovereignty of nations. Criminals use weapons and violence, but also money and bribes to buy elections, politicians and power – even the military.
Costa's statement echoed statements he made last month [JURIST report] at a UN conference on international crime prevention, calling for a disruption of the international criminal market. The report suggests that countries combat global organized crime by "disrupting the market forces" behind the illegal trafficking and by utilizing the framework provided by the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime [materials] protocol adopted in 2000 as an important mechanism in crime prevention.
Earlier this week, the US State Department (DOS) [official website] released its annual report [text, PDF; JURIST report] on human trafficking conditions across the globe. It was the tenth annual report on human trafficking by the DOS, following reports in 2009 [JURIST report], 2008 [materials], 2007 and 2006 [JURIST reports]. In January, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled that sex trafficking violates conventions [JURIST report] against slavery and forced labor. Last October, the US and the EU announced an international criminal treaty [JURIST report] that will greatly increase cooperation between the two governments in fighting the trafficking of humans and the sale of illegal drugs. In March 2009, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea [JURIST news archive] Vitit Muntarbhorn cited the country [JURIST report] for various human rights violations including human trafficking.