This is equivalent to 3.6% of the world's GDP, making crime one of the top 20 economies on the planet.
The figure has been calculated by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) and the World Bank, using 2009 crime data. This is the first time such a statistic has been made available. Yury Fedotov, head of the UNDOC, admits that with no frame of reference, this is only an estimate.
Breaking down the £2.1tn figure, up to $40bn is lost through corruption in developing countries each year, while illicit income from human trafficking amounts to $32bn per annum.
'It makes the criminal business one of the largest economies in the world,' says Fedotov.