A study by the Institute Demoskopika looked into the revenue of the ‘Ndrangheta group and estimated the money made was equal to 3.5 percent of Italy’s 2013 GDP. They analyzed documents from Italy’s interior ministry, police, the parliament’s anti-mafia commission and a national anti-mafia task force.
The biggest chunk — $33.3 billion — is earned from drug trafficking. Their garbage disposal business comes in second with $26.9 billion. The international crime syndicate, whose name comes from Greek for courage or loyalty, is believed to have around 400 key operatives in 30 countries — such as Australia, Colombia, Germany and Canada — and involve as many as 60,000 people globally. They also still take in money from more historically “traditional” mafia operations such as loan sharking, extortion and gambling.
Last week, Pope Francis called on Italy’s mafia groups to “stop doing evil” when he held a prayer vigil with mafia victims and their relatives. According to the BBC, he said “Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can’t bring it with you to your next life. Repent.”