A European Parliament report seen by AFP estimates that 3,600 international organized crime organizations operate within the EU. The damage done to European economies by organized crime totals hundreds of billions of euros according to a European Parliament special committee investigating crime, money laundering and corruption.
The CRIM committee estimates that around 880,000 slave laborers live in the EU, of whom 270,000 are victims of sexual exploitation. Human trafficking alone generates profits of around €25 billion ($ while the illegal trade in human organs and wild animals makes for a further estimated profit of between €18 and €26 billion annually.
Meanwhile, cybercrime causes an estimated €290 billion of damage. The report calls rampant corruption 'a serious threat' with 20 million cases worth a total of €120 billion registered in the public sector alone.
The European Commission has called for intensified cross-border cooperation between police forces and judiciaries in member states. Proposals include the elimination of tax havens and the criminalisation of vote-buying throughout the EU.
The committee further advocates that individuals convicted of money laundering or corruption are excluded from involvement in government procurement for a period of five years. Whistleblowers who expose malpractice in either business or government are to be provided with Europe-wide legal protection and freedom from criminal prosecution. The European Parliament will vote on the CRIM report on October 23.
By Jennifer Birich