The United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime says that cross-border business by organized criminal groups around the world now totals about $870 billion a year.
The earnings are more than six times the amount of official development aid around the world and represent about 1.5 percent of the world's gross domestic product, the UN agency says in a statement.
The agency says organized-crime groups affect millions of victims every year as a result of their activities -- with victims of human trafficking numbering about 2.4 million people at any one time.
The findings were included in a report released today to raise awareness the costs of organized crime.
Based on reporting by Reuters and RFE/RL