Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage said Thursday that nations must work together in the battle against organized crime.
Cage, a United Nations goodwill ambassador for global justice, said the threat posed by criminal networks is too big for communities or states to confront on their own so that countries must cooperate with one another.
"Organized crime is a deadly infection that preys on human beings," Cage told delegates at a conference aimed at boosting support for a U.N. convention to curb organized crime. "It sows fear and violence in cities, towns and villages around the world."
Cage warned that regions weakened by conflict, lawlessness and extreme poverty are especially susceptible to traffickers of illegal drugs, weapons and even humans.
"It feeds off instability, and also makes instability worse," he said.
Cage described being a U.N. goodwill ambassador as his "most challenging and meaningful role" yet and divulged that he even once considered leaving the movie business to devote more time to helping others.
"At some point I wanted to stop being an actor and start taking action," he said.
Cage was visibly touched when talking about child victims he met in Uganda and Kenya and a 15-year old Somali boy serving a 10-year prison sentence for piracy. These encounters were "heart-wrenching" and "deeply humbled" him, he said.
Cage highlighted the role of NGO's, judges, prosecutors, doctors, religious leaders and others in helping victims of organized crime, saying he now understood "who the world's real heroes are."
Yury Fedotov, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, praised Cage as a "humanitarian" who promoted a "victim-centered approach" to tackling organized crime
Cage won the Academy Award for best actor for his role in "Leaving Las Vegas" in 1995.