The Effects of Illegal Drug Use, Illegal Prostitution, and Money Laundering

A wide variety of criminal development can convey broad advantages and make the inspiration to impact them to appear to be genuine. Unlawful duty evasion is the method used by guilty parties to move, cover and legitimize the profits of bad behavior. As demonstrated by Rider (1992), the inspiration driving tax avoidance is “to render it moderately unfathomable for verification to be gotten which empowers a court to set up the acceptance of the money”. In light of the previously mentioned, “smudged” money is put through a cycle of trades or washed and is changed into untraceable, possibly legal and “clean” money. The assessment criminal can in this manner use the profits for future legitimate or unlawful activities without fear of criminal or normal support. In fact, illicit expense shirking is seen as the world’s third greatest industry after all inclusive oil trade and remote exchange (Robinson, 1995), and the estimation of tax avoidance worldwide is surveyed to be 2 to 5 percent of overall aggregate national yield (Camdessus, 1998). For the club business, Atkinson et al. (2000) battle that the advancement of wagering prompts extended contention. To give a space in which wagering can flourish and survey pay can extend, this frequently results in an extended capacity for controllers to decrease managerial standards to address the trouble of another competition. Beside offering wagering amusements for fervor, betting clubs moreover grasp distinctive budgetary activities including sending and getting saves through wire trade, driving money exchange, expanding gaming credit and evolving checks, 24 h day by day in most of the cases. In a club, the variety, repeat, and volume of trades make clubhouse exercises particularly feeble against illicit expense shirking. Suitably, authoritative specialists have pronounced standards and declaring necessities endeavoring to track trades of greater sizes to track suspicious trades and thwart would-be charge hoodlums. Regardless, AML bearings differ comprehensively among areas, which make issues for associations working clubhouse in different domains. This may result in under practical AML controls. Establishment in the USA The USA has started its push to make an illicit duty evasion control organization from a fundamental focus on banks in the mid-1970s with the segment of the main Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) by the Congress (31 CFR 1010.310 – some time back 31 CFR 103.10). A couple of AML acts, fusing game plans in Title III of the US Patriot Act of 2001, have been approved to change and become the BSA specifying requirements (see 31 USC 5311 – 5330 and 31 CFR Chapter X – once in the previous 31 CFR Part 103). Since May 7, 1985, the significance of a “financial foundation” in the primary exhibition was extended to join clubhouse as “money advantage associations”, thusly requiring consistency from the creating number of betting clubs outside of Nevada (Nelson and Bliss, 2014). The title of the Federal Rules on club AML uncovering was “Title 31”. This title has ended up being both the formal and easygoing name of all AML rules for betting clubs in the USA. At first, Nevada was successful in removing an exceptional case from the Federal standards by passing their own one of a kind AML oversees under the courses of action of Nevada Gaming Regulation 6A (Magaw, 2004). This duality continued until 2007 when a combination of components, for instance, the spread of natural clubhouse gaming and the growing expenses looked by Nevada-based betting club groups which were by then working in various areas feasibly requiring two parallel consistency systems. The second factor, regardless, was the execution of the new “suspicious development declaring” around at that point. Nevada specialists were reluctant to develop their headings around there. Looked with a possibly troublesome cross breed structure for Nevada betting clubs, state rules for money trades and government rules for suspicious activity reporting, the Nevada masters chose to simply drop the state necessities and depend totally on the authoritative rules (GCB Reg 6A). The present US situation has realized a uniform game plan of government rules which are proclaimed by Financial Crimes Enforcement Center (FinCEN) and approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the critical authoritative pay charge association in the USA. Following are the four fundamental AML necessities for a US betting club: 1. there must be a consistency program set up. 2. The betting club must report huge cash trades. 3. The clubhouse must report suspicious development trades. 4. There are the slightest recordkeeping and getting ready essentials under the exhibit. US uncovering strategy and structure The US requirements and strategies for AML are a two-dimensional system. The central prong requires the ID of any gaming sponsor who begins a colossal exchange trade out a club. Widely, the sorts of trades fuse cash buy-ins or cash outs. Portions in genuine cash or duties achieved through betting club credit are moreover included. The second time of the noteworthy is the need of chronicle suspicious activity reports (SARs) for any of an extensive extent of trades that may be seen as suspicious in nature [FinCEN (2008) – Guidance on Recognizing Suspicious Activity – Red Flags for Casinos and Card Clubs].

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Presently we go into what could prompt another issue or issue that appears to not have an answer, for example, illicit medication utilize and dependence. Hardly any diseases can match obsession in their capacity to make double-dealing, misinterpretation, or misguided judgment. Illicit drug use has been around for whatever length of time that solutions themselves, yet the affirmation of oppression to any substance as a disease rather than a choice is an unquestionably present-day thought. The essential issue of The Lancet in 1996 displayed a six-segment Series on propensity with the compliment on critical cerebrum frameworks, detoxification, treatment dreams, and medical procedure. By and by, following 16 years in the current week’s issue, a three-segment Series takes a gander at oppression from an overall perspective. The primary paper in the 2012 Lancet Series on subjugation tends to the overall weight of disease as a result of illicit quiet use and checks that 200 million people by and large use unlawful meds consistently. Louisa Degenhardt what’s more, Wayne Hall discuss the hostile prosperity effects of dependence on different solutions, and difference them and those of tobacco and alcohol. Most of the ailment stack attributable to illicit medicines is an issue or ward sedate customers, especially the people who implant drugs. The second paper, by John Strang and partners, dissects the practicality of pharmaceutical control exercises, additionally, researches evidence-based interventions to keep away from sedate use beginning in adolescents and to diminish cure use in setting up medicine customers.

The third paper, by Robin Room and Peter Reuter, looks at whether worldwide solution conventions secure general prosperity, or something unique, and presumes that national methodologies agreed with the perils of different prescriptions are required. The makers express: “The social places of different meds change enough to square broad procedures on the most capable technique to deal with all illicit or no ifs ands or buts licit pharmaceuticals. From the perspective of general prosperity, we need to move towards a control structure that is more agreed with the risks that differing pharmaceuticals stance to customers and exhibits an appreciation of the effects of different authoritative methodologies taking drugs use and hurt.” As the issue of increasing maltreatment of solution drugs show up, particularly in the USA, neutralizing activity and treatment of doctor prescribed cure dependence offers challenges that fluctuate from those of reliance on unlawful meds, and need inventive courses of action. Impulse is an intricate contamination without a comprehensive methodology approach or treatment.

Recovery is not the slightest bit, shape or structures another idea in the treatment of obsession, regardless of the way that the lingo used to mastermind it has contrasted fundamentally consistently. Why has recovery grabbed and lost help, and why has it been discussed in different ways? The verifiable scenery of treatment for people who use unlawful medicines, and the vernacular that is used to portray them, educate us concerning a more broad setting, about the assignment of interests inside legislative issues and inside the request of propensity.

Recovery is a term fragrant of nineteenth-century balance, with the guarantee as an announcement of confidence and changed lushes as the saved. In the late nineteenth century, the thought was enclosed through a substitute, remedial point of convergence. The likelihood of treatment for a condition called “inebriation”, which included both alcohol and drugs, began to outline the introduction of another kind of ace sharpen. Up until by then, “treating” people who drank alcohol or took drugs had not been inexhaustibly discussed; such people were not seen as feeble or requiring a pro’s thought. The British master society, set up in 1884, was at first the Society for the Study and Cure of Inebriety (nowadays it is the Society for the Study of Addiction). At first, positive reasoning about recovery was to the fore. Regardless, just two or three years after its foundation, “settle” of the accepted disease vanished from the strapline, as a segment of that early great confidence slowed down. Fix did not leave, in any case, and wound up bound up in institutional plans in the midst of the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century. Pros expected to develop a state-financed game plan of treatment pointed fundamentally at the alcoholic got up to speed in the turning portal of the criminal value system. Addicts sent to prison would go hand in hand.



Atkinson, G., Nichols, M. and Oleson, T. (2000), “The menace of competition and gambling deregulation”, Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 621-634

Degenhardt, L., Prof, & Hall, W., Prof. (2012). Extent of illicit drug use and dependence, and their contribution to the global burden of disease. Lancet, the, 379(9810), 55-70. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61138-0

Camdessus, M. (1998), 10 February), “Money laundering: the importance of international countermeasures”, International Monetary Fund, Address to the Plenary Meeting of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, Paris, available at: np/speeches/1998/021098.htm

FinCEN (2008), “Guidance on recognizing suspicious activity: red flags for casinos and card clubs”, available at:

Magaw, E. (2004), “Suspicious activity reporting and casinos: the life and death of Nevada’s regulation of casino suspicious activity reporting”, Gaming Law Review, Vol. 7 No. 6, pp. 427-443.

Siu Lam, C., & Greenlees, M. (2017). Casino money laundering regulations – macao and USA. Journal of Money Laundering Control, 20(1), 52-69. Retrieved from

Rider, B.A.K. (1992), “Fei Ch’ien laundries: the pursuit of flying money (Part I)”, Journal of International Planning, Vol. 1 No. 1, p. 77.

Robinson, J. (1995), The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business, Pocket Books, London


Prostitution Legalisation Sexual Offences

Prostitution is defined as participating in sexual activity in exchange for money. It’s often referred to as the oldest profession and is a highly emotive topic nestled within the tangled web of sexuality and morality. The legal status of prostitution has constantly fluctuated over centuries and even millennia as well as in different countries where it can be punishable by death or completely legal.

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The historical legislation on prostitution is as vast and as changeable as English law itself is. As long as laws have existed there have been many varying degrees of legalisation and illegalisation of prostitution. In 1161 King Henry II allowed the regulation of London’s brothels. (Evans, 1979) and in 1546 Henry VIII’s ended England’s “toleration” of prostitution. (Roberts, 1993) During the 19th Century the Victorians ideas of ‘morality’ and ‘social purity’ influenced legislation concerning sexuality and sexual offences. (Walkowitz, 1980) The first law was made with the reference to the term ‘common prostitute’ was the Vagrancy Act of 1824. In Subsection 3 of this Act stated that ‘any common prostitute behaving in a riotous or indecent manner in a public place or thoroughfare’ was liable to a fine or imprisonment. (Laite [online]) Further legislation was built up over this period including ‘solicitation laws’ brought about in England in 1847 made it an illegal offence to loiter or solicit people for the purpose of prostitution. These offences were arrestable and punished by fines which could be increased upon subsequent convictions.
In 1885 parliament passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act (Walkowitz, 1980) which was resultant response to both the publication of an investigative report in the Pall Mall Gazette (Laite) witch uncovered an organised child prostitution ring. The act addressed the issue of Age of consent raising it to 16 and created laws outlawing the forcible detainment and procuring of women for purposes of prostitution. It also addressed laws on brothels, but due to lack of definition of the word brothel it was used everything from what we understand as brothels to a residence of two or more prostitutes. This lead to heavy arrest figures of many prostitutes particularly poor ones as they would often rent premises together so that the cost could be shared and since they had no money to pay legal cost they could find themselves with hefty fines or three months imprisonment.
Some of the next significant changes in prostitution Legislation came about in the 1950’s. A report was published in 1954 called the Wolfenden report as a response to public concern of the rise of the number of women involved in prostitution. (Phoenix, 2005) The report had far reaching effect and the recommendations made went on to form the basis of the Street Offences Act 1959. The report consolidated the official discourse on prostitution and created a ‘new’ framework for the regulation of prostitution. The Acts most significant parts pertaining to prostitution included making it illegal for a prostitute to loiter and solicit in a public place and it introduced a system where prostitutes were first cautioned for offences and after repeat offences a punishment such as a fines would be introduced and if the offending progressed further the offender could be imprisoned for up to three months. (Scrambler, 1997) Other legislation in the Sexual Offences Act 1956 updated the laws on the offence of keeping a brothel, the offence of procuring a woman into prostitution by any means of force or under duress. Additionally it was an offence for a man to live off of the earnings of prostitution (i.e.: pimping).
Legislation dealing with prostitution was not an issue in contention again until the 1980’s. In the 1970’s and 1980’s a number of groups linked with feminist groups emerged in Europe and America promoting the rights of prostitutes (E.g.: COYOTE (call off your old tired ethics) and the ECP (English collective of prostitutes)) and called for the decriminalisation and normalisation of prostitution. (Matthews, 2008) they argued that the laws directed at prostitutes were discriminatory and counterproductive. In addition to that there were increasing concerns about the levels of ‘kerb-crawling’ and it was agreed that a new law was needed to address the issue. These problems were addressed in the 1985 Sexual Offences Act (Scrambler, 1997) which included the criminalization of ‘Kerb Crawling’. Such measures see a shift of focus on who is the ‘problem’ which can be seen as answering the critics who argued against the ‘double standards’ of punishing prostitutes who were nearly always women and often vulnerable and probably poor. However an argument against the ‘Kerb crawling’ law was that it would lead to an increased lack of safety for sex workers on the streets as they have to identify and go with a client quickly to avoid detection and arrest.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes amendments to these previous laws, strengthening them and updating them to include both male and female sex workers and extending the punishment for keeping a brothel to up to 7 years in prison. (OPSI, 2003) Additionally it can be noted that the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which saw the introduction of Anti-social behaviour orders were used against persistent offenders and street prostitutes were a primary recipient of these in certain English counties, (Sanders, 2005) A study conducted on the matter in Birmingham found during the study that nineteen prostitutes had been served ASBO’s for persistent solicitation and two women were sent to prison for breaching their orders. (Jones & Sager, 2001)
All of this past legislation has culminated in the current UK law on Prostitution which is that whilst it is legal to be a prostitute (take money in return for sex), the laws make all other surrounding areas of prostitution illegal, such as streetwalking, pimping, soliciting (advertising sexual services), kerb crawling and keeping brothels are illegal.
Critics argue that the current laws make, providing sex in exchange for money difficult and dangerous. Additionally we have seen that there have been changes in the ideas of prostitution being a victimless crime, to being a crime which victimises women and children. These shifts in the perceptions of prostitution are informing new calls for a change in policy with claims that the current laws are out-of-date and furthermore they are ‘biased against providers of sex and lenient on those who organise, buy and control and coerce women’ (Edwards in Sanders, 2005)
What appears to be coming clear is that many would prefer to see clear cut laws on prostitution that are either in favour of abolitionism (in the sense that prostitution is prohibited) or legalisation. But in addition to that others look towards legislation which centers on either decriminalisation or regulation. Petitioners for reform look towards examples of other countries and their legislation on prostitution. Most notably those in favour of decriminalization look towards the examples such as the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Sweden.
Sweden is a prime example of Decriminalisation. In Sweden they hold the view that prostitutes are exploited by their clients and it should be the clients which are held responsible. In 1998 the “Security for Women” bill was introduced in Sweden which included the criminalisation of the purchasers of sexual services, with penalties ranging from a fine to 6 month imprisonment. A key component of the legislation was specific funding for exit strategies for women wishing to leave prostitution, including specific benefits, specialist drug and alcohol services and accommodation. At the time of implementation it was estimated that there were 2,500 prostituted women in Sweden with approximately 600 working in street prostitution, which has now been reduced by 80%. Over 500 men have been charged under the act and the law has an 80% approval rating from the public five years after implementation. (McAlpine, 2006)
The Netherlands has changed over the past century it once outlawed brothels and pimping, however in the later half of the 20th Century prostitution was tolerated and regulated within certain areas. (Matthews, 2008) Over the last decade there has been a new shift, as pimping became legalised and brothels decriminalised. The idea for allowing brothels was too shift prostitution from the streets and help make prostitution safer for the prostitutes. The result in this change in policy is that the sex industry has reportedly expanded by 25% and the sex industry now accounts for 5% of the Dutch economy. (McAlpine, 2006) There has however been some criticism of this policy system. It’s been argued that the prostitutes are still losing out as they lose control of the ability to choose customers; the prices charged the hours they work and the services they offer. (Safer London Committee, 2005) This is often put down to the influx of women from the Eastern Block, South East Asia and Africa many of who are trafficked by criminal gangs and as a result damage the industry by pushing down prices and not following codes of conduct. (Bindel, 2004)
Additionally in the Netherlands during the 1990’s they initiated a project in an effort to manage and control Street prostitution by introducing tolerance zones called ‘tipple zones’ in a number of their cities where street prostitution was a problem. The function of these zones was to be an area outside of major population areas where street workers would be tolerated to operate; drug dealers and pimps were not tolerated within the area. Charitable agencies also provided help within these areas offering counselling, clean needles, and panic alarm buttons. However while to begin with tipple zones reduced the level of nuisance associated with street prostitution it was seen to be a failure in the long run and eventually all of the zones were closed down. (Matthews, 2007)
Certain States in Australia are prime examples of Legalisation. In Victoria, Australia there were 40 legal brothels in Victoria in 1989, in 1999 there were 94 along with 84 escort agencies following the legalisation of the industry in addition to many illegal venues. Legalisation is argued to have normalised the industry with the pimps being considered legitimate businessmen and sitting together with the police and lawyers on the Prostitution Control Board. (McAlpine, 2006) But it isn’t all positive as there are still a significant amount of brothels that are unregistered and many prostitutes do not want to register as prostitutes because they do not want to be stigmatised. (Bindel, 2004)
Legalising prostitution seems to be far more complex than it initially appears and moreover, evidence in other countries shown can display that it does not solve the problems of prostitution. In countries where prostitution is legalised such as the Netherlands and Germany there are still significant problems with Street Prostitutes and there are also significant problems with the levels of trafficked sex workers.
In return to ideas for reform of UK Legislation it would appear that the overall critique of the UK laws is that the legislation is failing in combating prostitution. Furthermore like most prostitution policy approaches Bindel (2004) argues that they
“Lack a coherent philosophical underpinning, from which specific short and longer term aims and objectives could be drawn…. The most coherent approach in terms of philosophy and implementation is that adopted by Sweden, and interestingly it is the only one where no one who sells sex is subject to the criminal law.”
Many argue, that a lot of money is still spent on law enforcement efforts to catch prostitutes and their customers. When prosecuted, the justice system has to process them through expensive systems. The end results appear to be that there is little impact on prostitution. Prostitutes pay the penalty fines and are back on the streets again in what becomes a revolving door process. (Sanders, 2005)
In terms of the most successful form of policy for the management of street Prostitutes it appears that Sweden’s approach looks to be the most successful. Their laws make use of the notion that prostitutes are victims of male violence, and so the purchaser of sex is the criminal and the seller of sex the victim. It can be argued that the reasons for these ideas working are that it is the perfect deterrence. A typical male who visits a prostitute isn’t the stereotypical view of an older lonely man but it can be anyone. (Spurrell, 2006) Because of this it is likely that many men would be deterred from using prostitutes if it is made far more unfavourable.
If UK prostitution legislation were to be reformed it would be important to make it more fitting to today’s attitudes. It has been established that whilst prostitution in the UK is legal majority of the acts surrounding it are not. The reasons for this are within the basis of past legislation, which sought to protect women from abuse and victimisation. And additionally to push it to the margins of society, presumably in the hope that it would go away. Realistically however it is unlikely that it will go away, so there is the need to address ways to manage prostitution so that it can function without criminalising prostitutes or creating victims and that prostitutes are free to work in as safe and healthy environment as possible.
To do this prostitution needs to be decriminalised and regulated. It needs to be recognised that prostitutes will always be out on the streets in some shape or form and so any attempts to move prostitution solely into the indoor sphere is unlikely to work. With that said legislation needs to address both indoor and outdoor prostitution. As with the Netherlands, brothels should be the promoted alternative with brothels being regulated and only state licensed ones should be tolerated. Prostitutes should be registered but allowed to operate with a degree of anonymity if they choose. The Laws against Pimping and forced prostitution should still stand and heavy laws should be imposed for hose who traffic women and force them to work as prostitutes. As for street prostitution we should look towards the Swedish model which criminalises the buyer rather than the prostitute. Additionally there needs to be a geographical equality to the implementation of prostitution laws. At the moment different areas in the UK operate very different implementations of the current law. Some areas of the UK operate a Zero Tolerance policy yet others are unofficial red light districts. (Matthews, 2007)
So to conclude it can be argued that laws have not changed all that much in the past century; the main changes in the law have mostly been about encompassing new offences. All that appears to have resulted in these new laws are that prostitutes have been driven out onto the streets. The nature of there job and the illegal status of it, creates high risk circumstances. And because their actions are unlawful they have to conceal what they are doing and cannot be protected by the services.There are talks about a draft Bill for new legislation on prostitution. But whole sale changes to the laws appear to not be on the agenda yet again. We can look towards policies in other countries such Sweden which favours the decriminalisation of the prostitute and to the Netherlands which has legalised and regulated brothels with a certain degree of success.
What can be agreed is that there needs to be a wider debate upon the criminalisation or decriminalisation of prostitution, which looks at the needs and safety of those people who are sex workers.
Evans, H. (1979) Harlots, Whores & Hookers: A History of Prostitution, New York: Taplinger
Matthews, R. (2008) Prostitution, Politics and Policy, Oxen: Routledge-Cavendish
Pheonix, J. Oerton, S. (2005) Illicit and Illegal: Sex, regulation and social control, Devon, Willan.
Roberts, N. (1993) Whores in History: Prostitution in Western Society, London: Harper Collins.
Sanders, T. (2005) Sex Work: A risky business, Devon, Willan
Scrambler, G. Scrambler, A. (1997) Rethinking Prostitution, London: Routledge.
Thomas, T. (2005) Sex Crime: Sex offending and society 2nd Edition, Devon: Willan
Walkowitz, J (1980) Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class and the State, Cambridge: University Press.
Bindel, J. (2004) ‘Streets Apart’ in The Guardian [online] Available from:,,1215900,00.html [Accessed 2 April 2008]
Home Office, (2003) ‘Sexual Offences Act 2003′ in Office of Public Sector Information [online] Available from: [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Laite, J. (no date) ‘Paying the price again: prostitution policy in historical perspective’ in History and Policy [online] Available from: [Accessed 31 March 2008]
McAlpine, M. (2006) ‘Prostitution: A contribution to the debate’ by the Scottish Socialist Party [online] Available from: [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Safer London Committee, (2005) ‘Street Prostitution in London’ by the London Assembly [Online] Available from: [Accessed 1 April 2008]
Spurrell, C. (2006) ‘Who pays for sex? You’d be surprised’ in The Times [online] Available from : [Accessed 2 April 2008]
Jones, H. & Sager, T. (2001) ‘Crime and Disorder Act 1998: Prostitution and the Anti Social Behaviour Order.’ Criminal Law Review, Nov: 873-885.

Is Prostitution a Victimless Crime

Prostitution, as described by the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (1997), is the selling of sexual favors for money or the devoting of oneself or one’s talent to an unworthy cause (p. 589). In another frame of reference, prostitution has been called a “victimless crime.” What exactly is a “victimless crime”? West’s Encyclopedia of American defines it as:

crime where there is no apparent victim and no apparent pain or injury. This class of crime usually involves only consenting adults in activities such as prostitution, sodomy, and gambling where the acts are not public, no one is harmed, and no one complains of the activities (2008).

This classic definition of these types of crime implies there is not any victim of the criminal behavior who experiences harm. From a theoretical perspective, conflict theorists may hold that victimless crimes are established as a type of social control over morality by politically powerful people or groups who find them offensive or undesirable while functional theorists may hold that social needs, not societal power, are the underlying condition of labeling victimless behaviors as criminal (Greek, C.E., 2005).

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Why are some consensual acts considered illegal while others are not? McWilliams (1996) asserts consensual activities’ prohibitions and restrictions have their basis in religion while O’Donnell (2000) in addressing the price of victimless crime laws, proposes those crime laws are a form of morality control and religious persecution that uphold the opinions of the law-controlling majority with regards to race, ethnicity and political stances.
The issue in victimless crimes is that society has created laws to prohibit certain types of conduct considered to be against the public interest and when supposed victims freely consent to be the victim in one of these crimes; the question is whether the state should make an exception from the law for the situation. For the purpose of this paper, prostitution and the issues of concern in the legalization of this victimless crime is explored.
Upon examining prostitution as a victimless crime, it seems evident there are victims at some level but most of the harm seems to be self-inflicted. Looking at the puzzle of the involved behaviors, having sex and asking for money, each by themselves are perfectly legal. Having sex with someone, even an unknown person is legal, and asking for money is legal but, when the two behaviors are linked into one single instance, a criminal act results. The two separate legal behaviors cannot constitute an illegal behavior for if no person is harmed, or if harm occurs by informed consent of the willing parties, how can it be considered a criminal act? One arguable stance presented is that consensual acts are not without risk and when adults consent to take part in the acts, why should the resulting action be deemed criminal by legal social rules? What kinds of problems can the law solve and what kind of problems does the law create?
Among the many proponents of de-criminalizing victimless crimes the concept of unconstitutionality is consistently cited (Hardaway, 2000; McWilliams, 1998; O’Donnell, 2000; National Platform of the Libertarian Party, 2002). A prominent vocal critic of criminalizing these termed victimless crimes, such as prostitution, is Robert Hardaway.
Hardaway is a professor of Law at the University of Denver’s School of Law who has written and co-written numerous texts and articles on legal and community interest matters. Hardaway’s 2003 book, No Price Too High: Victimless Crimes and the Ninth Amendment, as cited by Cox in a 2004 review, presents a powerful and strongly-argued perspective which argues the criminalization of victimless crimes violate the Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution (2004). Cox notes the criminalization of these crimes as well as amount of money it takes to enforce the laws are unsound policies according to Hardaway. Although, in the case of drugs, crime against property and person are related to drug use, Hardaway, per Cox (2004), attributes the harm of drug use to the laws rather than the use of drugs themselves. According to Cox, Hardaway uses the example of Prohibition to explain the supply and demand concept of the argument stating: “crime and violence do not emanate from some physiological effect of the drug, but the drug laws themselves” and with the decriminalization of drugs, neighborhood drug dealers would be put out of business effectively breaking the business-end of organized crime (105). Hardaway further posits, according to Cox, “legalizing personal vices is justified by a considered weighing of the costs and consequences of criminalization” (30), (2004). has a website which addresses the issue of whether or not prostitution should be legalized and many statements were provided on this website of both the pro and con sides of the issue: “No person’s human or civil rights should be violated on the basis of their trade, occupation, work, calling, or profession” [Prostitution Education Network, 1996]; “prostitution violates the right to physical and moral integrity violates the prohibition of torture and of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment..” [Hoffman, C., 1997]; “prostitution laws area violation of the right of individual privacy because they impose penal sanctions for the private sexual conduct of consenting adults” [American Civil Liberties Union, 2007]; “…few activities are as brutal and damaging to people as prostitution” [U.S. Department of State, 2004] (ProCon, 2009).
Of all opposition members, the most prominent is Melissa Farley, a research and clinical psychologist at the San Francisco non-profit organization, Prostitution Research and Education. Farley has written numerous peer-reviewed articles on the subject (Farley, M., 2006). Farley’s numerous research articles provide a well-rounded look at the subject matter of prostitution, the sex industry, exploitation of women, as well as the myriad of troubling issues arising from when men purchase women in prostitution. In the 2006 article, Prostitution, Trafficking, and Cultural Amnesia: What We Must Not Know in Order to Keep the Business of Sexual Exploitation Running Smoothly, Farley posits “prostitution is sexual violence that results in massive economic profit for some of its perpetrators” and is a much like slavery in that it is a “lucrative form of oppression” (p. 102). Farley goes further to remark on “prostitution’s legal status (legal, illegal, zoned, or decriminalized)” or the location of the activity “(strip club, massage parlor, street, and escort/home/hotel)” the danger to women is still tremendous (p. 103). Farley’s discussion on the peer-reviewed literature which documents the violence so prevalent in prostitution and states: “Violence is commonplace in prostitution whether it is legal or illegal” (p. 106). Citing a Canadian commission on prostitution and pornography which reported the “death rate of women in prostitution as forty times higher than that of the general population” and a 2001 Vancouver prostitution research study by Cler-Cunningham and Christensen which reported a “thirty-six percent incident of attempted murder, Farley contends “prostitution can be lethal” (p. 107).
Farley’s detailed look at legalized and illegal prostitution can impact the perception of the sex industry as a whole. However, within the United States Constitution’s first ten amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, are provisions which may present a strong argument for abolishing criminalizing prostitution and other victimless crimes.
The First, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments are of particular interest in this dialogue of supporting the decriminalization of prostitution. Although victimless crimes such as prostitution are not specifically addressed in the Constitution there seems to be an arguable position that victimless crime laws violate First Amendment restrictions against laws “respecting an establishment of religion” especially since religious and moral values seem to provide the foundation for many of the laws.
The Fourth Amendment’s provisions on search and seizure seems to be violated by such devices as warrantless search and seizures which are often utilized to obtain evidence for prosecutorial purposes. The privacy of innocents can be threatened as enforcement of the law requires police and investigators to engage in extensive monitoring, wiretapping, and surveillance of suspects and the public. Some people believe that these warrantless search and seizures and victimless crime laws are a means of political power over selected portions of the population which are unequally enforced against the poor and minorities thereby violating the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment (Kruttscnitt, 1984; McWilliams, 1998; Nussbaum, O’Connell, 2000; 1999; Schur, 1971, 1980, 1983).
The Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution has direct bearing on such modern day constitutional issues such as abortion, gay rights, and the right to die. Farber (2007) considers the Ninth Amendment the ‘key to understanding’ the liberties Americans were to enjoy under the Constitution as envisioned by the Founding Fathers describes the purpose of the Ninth Amendment and the Founders’ intent: to protect the rights the Founders’ assumed but failed to enumerate or specify in the Bill of Rights. Like the rest of the original Bill of Rights, per Farber, the Ninth Amendment only limits federal power rather than state government powers. The Fourteenth Amendment came along later and addressed the state government and within that Amendment the Privileges or Immunities Clause is paired with the Ninth Amendment (Lash, 2004; Farber, 2007).
America is in first place in the world for the number of incarcerated individuals as highlighted by a Pew Center report that found 1 in every 100 American adults are behind bars with its prison population having tripled in the last 20 years. Spending on prisons has more than quadrupled and the American taxpayers are slowly crushed by this wasteful spending. At an average cost of over $19,000 per prisoner, taxpayers are facing a bill of over $44 billion per year to keep people locked away (Pew, 2004).
Coinciding with this rising prison population is the increase in the number of private prisons which increased from five in 1995 to 100 in 2005. Herivel and Wright ( ) in their book “Prison Profiteers-Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration” reports private prison industry has seen increased profits and lobbied extensively for more frequent and longer prison sentences and traces the flow of monies designated for the public good and ends up in the “pockets of enterprises dedicated to keeping prison cells filled” (From their book jacket).
History has shown that criminalizing victimless crimes will drive the practice underground where violence, extortion, and coercion are most likely to thrive. This was particularly noticed when the 18th Amendment and later the Volstead Act, 1919, which made it illegal to manufacture or sell “beer, wine, or other intoxicating malt or vinous liquors” it was not illegal to possess it for personal use. The prohibition, originally intended to reduce beer consumption in particular, actually a failure and ended up increasing hard liquor consumption and created a new business, “bootlegging,” defined as the unlawful manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages without registration or payment of taxes which became widespread and a staple of organized crime (Prohibition).
Almost every individual has the ability and moral capacity to judge what is helpful or harmful to them and it does not make sense for other people to dictate what choices should be made. When individuals commit acts harmful to themselves, the action should be termed as immoral, not illegal. The criminalization for the act of prostitution should not be determined by social effects of an individual’s actions or by the moral or religious views of society. Every person needs freedom to make choices and accept the consequences for without these consequences, growth and experiential development will be hindered.
If an adult man-or an adult woman, wants to engage in sexual relations with another adult man or woman who charges a fee for his or her services, they should be able to do so without the fear of being guilty of a crime. It does not mean that prostitution should not be subjected to certain legal requirements such as health laws. Removing prostitution from criminal statutes and providing a designation as a business entity subjected to business requirements, prostitution can be taxed, sex workers can obtain health and safety rights other employees have, and problems of abuse and graft associated with police jurisdiction of such a business can be dealt with more effectively with better protection from violence and abuse for those individuals who work within the industry. In a 2001 article written for the New Zealand Herald, Sue Bradford, MA, Member of New Zealand’s Parliament says it best: “prostitution has been a career option for some people since history began. Nothing any law has done has changed or will change that…I believe we would all be better off to accept the job choice that some adults make as valid and worthy of care and compassion for all our sakes” (2001).
Work Cited
Bradford, S. (2001). Dialogue: Sex workers deserve protection of the law. New Zealand Herald. July 30, 2001.
Cox, G.C., (2004). Book review of Hardaway, R. (2003). No price too high: Victimless crimes and the Ninth Amendment. Department of Political Science, University of North Texas.
Farber, D.A. (2007). Retained by the people: The ‘silent’ Ninth Amendment and the Constitutional rights Americans don’t know they have. Perseus Books.
Fyffe, C. and Hardaway, R.M. (2003). No price too high: Victimless crimes and the Ninth Amendment. Westport, CN: Praeger.
Greek, C.E., (2005). Criminological theory. Lecture notes. CCJ 5606.
Hayes-Smith, R. and Shekarkhar, Z. (2010). Why is prostitution criminalized? An alternative viewpoint on the construction of sex work. Contemporary Justice Review, March 2010, Volume 13 Issue 1, p. 43-55.
Herivel, T. and Wright, P. (2007). Prison profiteers: Who makes money from mass incarceration? New York: New Press
Kruttschnitt, C. (1984). Labeling women deviant: Gender stigma and social control. Contemporary Sociology. 13 (5), 596.
Lash, K.T. (2004). The lost original meaning of the Ninth Amendment. Texas Law Review, Volume 83, Number 2, December 2004
McWilliams, P. (1998). Ain’t nobody’s business if you do: The absurdity of consensual crimes in a free society. Los Angeles, CA: Prelude Press.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1997). Springfield, MASS: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
National Platform of the Libertarian Party, 2002. (Adopted at the July 2002 convention in Indianapolis, Indiana)&&print