Prostitution: A ‘victimless crime’?

For the vast majority of prostituted women, prostitution is the experience of being hunted, assaulted and battered.

Katie Pedigo

When actress Anne Hathaway accepted her Oscar statuette last month for her supporting role in Les Miserables , she ended her speech by saying, “Here’s hoping that someday in the not too distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and never more in real life.”  

In Victor Hugo’s novel, Fantine is a young French woman who is abandoned after getting pregnant. As a single mother, she resorts to prostitution, and to selling her hair and teeth in order to support her daughter. Unfortunately, in 21st century America, Fantine’s nightmare lives on. 

The purchase and sale of American women and girls – the buying and selling of these human beings as property – continues all across the country. The key to making Hathaway’s hope a reality – and it’s a hope that any Americans share – is to dispel two myths related to the issue: first, that this is a victimless crime, and second, that it is a “free will” choice.  

Prostitution is often described as a “victimless crime”, or a “consensual crime”, because in theory, no one present at the crime is unwilling. In reality, this is a myth. In reality, prostitution of women is a particularly lethal form of violence against women, and a violation of a woman’s most basic human rights. 

It is rarely the media-approved version of prostitution, a sexy and highly-paid adventure where business is conducted at upscale bars and in hotel rooms; though some sex workers do have that experience, most do not. For the vast majority of prostituted women, prostitution is the experience of being hunted, dominated, harassed, assaulted and battered. 

Sadly, the majority of girls enter prostitution before they have reached the age of consent. In other words, their first commercial sexual interactions are rape. 

Research indicates that most women in prostitution were sexually and physically abused as children. The stories we hear daily at New Friends New Life (NFNL) , a social service agency restoring and empowering trafficked teens and sexually exploited women, corroborate those findings. 

“We’ve all been molested – over and over – and raped,” says one teen girl who completed the sexual abuse recovery therapy offered by NFNL. “We were sexually abused as children. We ran to get away. They didn’t want us in the house anymore. We were thrown out, thrown away.”

Another myth is that most women and girls choose to enter the sex industry. Again, while this is true for a small number of sex workers, the research indicates that for the vast majority of women and girls, it is a highly constrained choice. Ultimately, viewing prostitution as a genuine “choice” for women, such as secretarial work or waitressing, diminishes the possibility of getting women out and improving their lives.

In fact, more than 90 percent of prostituted women in various surveys want out, but lack viable alternatives. They are unable to leave because of their pimps, their addiction, or the need to feed their children. At New Friends New Life , the survivors we work with have described it as “the choice made by those who have no choice”.

The misconception that this is a choice makes outsiders less likely to help women and girls from getting much needed help, and it also shapes the way those women think about themselves. As one survivor said, “I couldn’t understand that I was victimised because I believed I must have chosen to be a prostitute. I initially refused to testify against my traffickers because I believed they were now the only people who accepted me.”

This is the reason why many girls “choose” to return to their traffickers; they feel shunned by society. If prostitution is a degenerate way of life, the public imagines, and if these women have chosen that life, they don’t deserve our help.

Traffickers will tell young women and children that the police won’t believe them, that their family will no longer want them, and that nobody will treat them nicely. And too often, this is true.

I have the same hope as Anne Hathaway. I believe when our culture and society exchanges judgment for compassion, healing can come to thousands of women and girls in America who are real-life like Fantines, whose misfortunes are anything but over.

Katie Pedigo is Executive Director of New Friends New Life , a non-profit that works to transform the lives of trafficked teens and exploited women.

Follow her on Twitter: @katiepedigo

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Op-Ed Contributors

The Myth of the Victimless Crime

By Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek

  • March 12, 2008

WHAT do we know about the woman Gov. Eliot Spitzer allegedly hired as a prostitute? She was the one person he ignored in his apology. What is she going through now? Is she in danger from organized crime because of what she knows? Is anyone offering her legal counsel or alternatives to prostitution?

“I’m here for a purpose,” she said in a conversation with her booking agent after meeting with Governor Spitzer, according to the affidavit of the F.B.I agent who investigated the prostitution ring. “I know what my purpose is. I’m not a ... moron, you know what I mean.”

Her purpose, as a man who knew patiently explained, is “renting” out an organ for 10 minutes. Men rent women through the Internet or by cellphone as if they were renting a car. And now, in response to the news about Governor Spitzer, pundits are wading into the age-old debates over whether prostitution is a victimless crime or whether women are badly hurt in prostitution no matter what they’re paid.

Whose theory is it that prostitution is victimless? It’s the men who buy prostitutes who spew the myths that women choose prostitution, that they get rich, that it’s glamorous and that it turns women on.

But most women in prostitution, including those working for escort services, have been sexually abused as children, studies show. Incest sets young women up for prostitution — by letting them know what they’re worth and what’s expected of them. Other forces that channel women into escort prostitution are economic hardship and racism.

The Emperor’s Club presented itself as an elite escort service. But aside from charging more, it worked like any other prostitution business. The pimps took their 50 percent cut. The Emperor’s Club often required that the women provide sex twice an hour. One woman who was wiretapped indicated that she couldn’t handle that pressure. The ring operated throughout the United States and Europe. The transport of women for prostitution was masked by its description as “travel dates.”

Telephone operators at the Emperor’s Club criticized one of the women for cutting sessions with buyers short so that she could pick up her children at school. “As a general rule,” one said, “girls with children tend to have a little more baggage going on.”

Whether the woman is in a hotel room or on a side street in someone’s car, whether she’s trafficked from New York to Washington or from Mexico to Florida or from the city to the suburbs, the experience of being prostituted causes her immense psychological and physical harm. And it all starts with the buyer.

Melissa Farley is the author of “Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections.” Victor Malarek is the author of “The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade.”

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Is Prostitution a Victimless Crime or Not?


Victimless crimes refers to category of felonies that involve one or more than one person through consensual agreement which results to no direct injury or loss, more importantly these crimes do not interfere with other people’s rights in any way. They are therefore referred as victimless crimes because no party is injured or willing to institute any legal proceedings for redress purposes. For a crime to qualify as a victimless crime it must satisfy three important characteristics; it should be fully consented by the participants, it should not interfere with anyone’s rights at all and finally it should not cause any pain or injury to the participants or third parties (Marlatt, 2004).

It is for these reasons that victimless crimes are also referred as consensual crimes or public order crimes because it is often the case that the issues involved in these crimes are issues of morality and public orderly. Because victimless crimes involve two contentious issues of morality and liberty, the legalization of this category of crime is always disputed on many grounds.

As it is, many governments worldwide are halfway committed in enacting or enforcing existing laws and regulations that deter people from engaging in these category of crimes or indeed their prosecution, but still a lot of resources continue being allocated towards addressing victimless crimes. Enforcement of victimless crimes is always contested from two major grounds by many critiques, factors that we shall closely analyze in the next chapters. One is on the basis of the nature of crimes themselves which are considered to be moral issues rather than an illegality per se, and as we all know morality is relative because it is based on personal values that cannot be defined by the State (Marlatt, 2004).

Therefore enforcing victimless crimes will first require States to set national moral standards which will act as benchmarks that would provide the framework of defining which victimless crimes to enforce. But there is a catch, because State in itself has no morals of its own since it is not an individual, rather the individuals entrusted with governance are the ones who usually determine standards of morality. Unfortunately standards of morality tends to differ very much, therefore what is morally right for John cannot be said to be the same for Mary and neither of them should use their moral basis to set the standard for the other.

The other factor from which victimless crimes are always contested has to do with liberty; because the principles of Common Law and natural justice demands that people be free to do what they like as long as they don’t interfere with other peoples liberties, it would be unfair and against natural laws of justice for the State to limit peoples liberties. Throughout this paper these are the core theories that we shall attempt to investigate in order to arrive at a fair assessment that would justify or otherwise refute the need for victimless crimes.

Forms of Victimless Crimes

There are many types of crimes that have no apparent victim or which do not cause injury for that matter; generally there are two forms that victimless crimes can take, one, victimless crimes that involve self only and two, victimless crimes that involve more than two persons (Ward, 2003). Oneself victimless crimes involve felonies that a person commit without involvement of any other party, typical examples include use of recreational drugs, not wearing seatbelt while driving, public nudity, abortions (which can be argued) and failure to wear helmets when riding motorbikes.

Incidentally these are the types of victimless crimes that are less serious and therefore not very much contested, on the other hand, victimless crimes that involve more than one person are the ones which seem to raise more contention despite their harmlessness. Prostitution, gambling and substance abuse are some of the most contentious victimless crimes which involve more than one person that are usually at the centre of victimless crimes debate.

This is probably because of the fact that these crimes occur at a very high rate within the society; for instance victimless crimes in US was responsible for more than 350,000 peoples serving jail time and another 1.5 million being on parole in 2003 according to Parenti (1999).To put into perspective the cost associated with enforcement and prosecution of victimless crimes in United States for instance let us briefly discuss the direct and indirect cost that the government incurs as far as victimless crimes are concerned.

Cost Implications of Enforcing Victimless Crimes

Most government prison systems are clogged by the high proportion of victimless crimes which makes up the majority of the cases, a good example to analyze is the United States prison system. Despite a general reduction in crime rate over the years, the United States prison system has continued to grow to be one of the most massive worldwide with a record of 7.3 million incarcerated persons as of 2008 that keeps on rising everyday 2008 (Parenti, 1999).

This is our first indication that the high number of persons incarcerated in US jails has nothing to do with serious crimes, which would indicate a significant proportion of persons jailed for victimless crimes. Indeed, United States is the leading country in the world with the highest number of persons incarcerated in jails and prisons; and also the leading country with the highest number of prisons, most of which have been built over the last few decades (Parenti, 1999).

In United States, like many other countries worldwide, incarceration is the major method that is used as punishment for convicted persons besides probation. By 2009, the total number of US federal prisons had exceeded the 115 mark, this is without counting the military prison facilities, state prison facilities and county jails among other forms of prisons that are usually outsourced by the governments from private companies (Parenti, 1999).

My hypothesis is that the increased expansion of the prison system in United States was largely driven by the increasing need to prosecute victimless crimes. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that since the start of early 1990, general crime rate in United States dramatically dropped to the lowest ever recorded rates in the country and have since remained relatively low, throughout the 1990 decade all forms of crimes, that ranged from homicides to shoplifting reduced by 40% across all cities in the country in what later come to be known as the “Great American Crime Decline” (Elsner, 2006).

In other cities such as New York which were prone to even high crime rates before this period, the drop in crime rate was even more dramatic and reduced by a whopping 75% (Elsner, 2006). In fact during the year 1990 up to 2006 for instance, the number of incarcerated persons in US prisons has risen to an all time of 2.3 million from just about a million prisoners in 1990 while another approximately 5 million were on probation (, 2006). It is also during this period, over the last two decades that the United States government rapidly expanded it prisons facility and more than quadrupled its spending on prison system as shown in the chart below (, 2006).

So the question then becomes why is the rate of incarceration been increasing at a time when all types of crimes have been decreasing to an all time lowest levels? To answer this question let us compare some crime rate statistics. In his book “Ain’t Nobody Business if You Do”, McWilliams states that 4 million persons are arrested in any given year for engaging in victimless crimes (cited in Ward, 2003).

What is more the government incurs cost in excess of $200 billion per year, costs that are associated with enforcement, deterrent and prosecution of victimless crimes. So if the government has committed this vast amount of resources towards controlling victimless crimes, it makes perfect sense that victimless crimes represents the majority of felonies that one is likely to be prosecuted for breaking?

If there is any doubt still left regarding the cost implications of deterring and prosecuting people from engaging in victimless crimes then consider this. United States prison system is one of the most efficient, organized and largest anywhere in the world not because it is the country with highest crime rate or even population but probably because of a phenomenon that was first defined by James Wilson as the “broken window theory” (Elsner, 2006).

In early 2000 the US legal system adopted new policy that required stiff penalties for felonies that were considered lesser crimes; the logic was that meting out harsh penalties for lesser crimes will deter people from committing more serious crimes, which is the essence of broken window theory. Unfortunately most of the “lesser crimes” that the government chose to make example out of were mostly victimless crimes such as drug related crimes, prostitution and gambling.

The result was that by 2006 after just six years of the implementation of this policy, per capita incarceration rate in US stood at 737 persons for every 100,000, far higher than the average rates for most developed countries with the exceptions of Russia and China (Elsner, 2006). In fact the number of convicted persons in US stood at 2.2 million by this period and another 7.3 million people on parole was far much more than in China at 1.5 million prisoners which have a population of 1 billion people (Elsner, 2006). Another way to look at it is that US accounted for 25% of all incarcerated persons anywhere in the world by 2006 while it only has 5% of the world population (Elsner, 2006).

Whichever way you look at it the fact remains that majority of crimes that most people still gets convicted for are basically victimless crimes. Before we consider the reasons that would make any government continue draining resources on an initiative that it should be less concerned with and which it makes no impact at all, let us briefly review the most common types of victimless crimes that many governments are so bent on abolishing.


The old adage that prostitution is the oldest profession on earth certainly has some elements of truth because since the man invented trade sex has always been one form of payment that was offered in exchange of good or with some other form of service. This is perhaps the ancient origin of prostitution business whose concept has essentially remained the same many thousands years later. Today the annual turnover of prostitution industry worldwide is in excess of 100 billion and a flourishing underground business in America (, 2002). Prostitution involves consensual engagement or solicitation of sex by adults, it is one of the most common misdemeanors that someone is most likely to be arrested for. Indeed if the current statistics are anything to go by, prostitution is no longer an ancient profession but the largest as well.

In a report compiled by the National Task Force on Prostitution (NTFP) in 2003, 1 million is the modest estimates of women previously or currently engaged actively in the vice (, 2010). This figure represent 1% of women population who are involved in the illegal business of prostitution not to mention 70% of their male counterparts estimated by the same report to have willingly engaged in prostitution at least once in their lifetime (, 2010).

Because prostitution is one of the big three victimless crimes that many government allocates vast resources to control, it would be important to undertake a critical review to establish if it should indeed be regulated by considering the cost implications that it has in the society or in fact its benefits to the society. The theory that I wish to advance is that decriminalizing prostitution would be more beneficial from a pure perspective of cost-benefit analysis.

It is a widely held opinion by many policy makers that legalizing prostitution could be the way out of solving various issues such as human trafficking, child pornography and other related crimes that are associated with prostitution, yet except for few States in United States such as Nevada prostitution is still regarded as a felony in many other States and countries worldwide. A report published by Prostitute Education Network (PEN) as early as 1993 indicated that the effects of failing to legalize prostitution had started taking toll on the judiciary system because of the huge case pile up of prostitution related cases that had congested the judiciary as well as the prison system.

70% of all female arrest that were being made for instance at that time involved prostitution charges while male cases accounted for up to 20% (Meir, 2010). Like all victimless crimes there are many reasons why this type of crime should not continue to be enforced; decriminalizing victimless crimes will boost tax revenues and directly save the government a lot of money, decongest judicial and prison system, facilitate enforcement of serious crimes and promote human right through increased liberty.

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons why prostitution should nolonger be considered as a crime in America are contained in a recent finding that has found a correlation between legalization of prostitution and the prevalence of rapes. In a research study done by Cundiff titled “Prostitution and Sex Crimes” that utilized a regressed model of testing theories the study found that if prostitution was made legal in the United States “the rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% which is a decrease of approximately 25,000 per year” (Cundiff, 2004). The findings of this research study are compatible with various other literatures on the subject which have largely attributed the phenomenon of rape to factors of “lust” and “power thesis” (Cundiff, 2004).

Because men are easily able to access the services of prostitutes at lower rates in jurisdictions that legalize prostitution, there is higher rate of utilization of this purposes that serve to diffuse the elements of lust and power thesis that usually compel men to commit rape (Cundiff, 2004).

The table below copied from the same study indicates the data on rape, sex and homicide to depict the relationship that exist between availability of sex and prevalence of rape as well as other homicide crimes. Let us consider data from just two countries; Portugal for instance has the lowest rape rates according to the data, but for good reasons, the frequency of sex per month is seen to occur at a rate of 95.2 times almost 8 times more than is the case for United States which incidentally has a rape rate of 32, this is one of the highest on the list as well as the homicide rate that appears to be correlated with rape rate (Cundiff, 2004).

This figures provides evidence that criminalizing victimless crimes has far reaching implications than is usually thought to be the case given that homicide rates indicated here are indeed a factor of rape which we have seen to be correlated with prostitution.

Drug Related Crimes

Substance Abuse is a term that is used to describe addiction to regular use of drugs that is characterized by a pattern that indicates reliance to particular type of substance which is not regarded as dependent. It is a term that is used to describe all types of drug use by a person which is not conditioned by any medical condition regardless of frequency of their intake (Chamberin, 2010).

Due to the breadth and width of types and nature of drugs use which can be described as substance abuse the World Health Organization allows for different definition of the term “substance abuse” which is generally categorized into four groups: medical definitions, public health definitions, mass communication definitions and criminal justice definitions (Chamberin, 2010). Drug abuse is categorized as a victimless crime because it involve willing user who willingly buys for purposes of consumption, the fact that “addiction” would indicate there is no free will to choose is still unresolved debate.

Currently the United Nations estimates that more than 100 million peoples worldwide regularly abuse the major types of hard drugs such as heroin, amphetamines, cocaine and other synthetic drugs (Sobell and Agrawal, 2009). However there is no estimate of the actual extent of all types of drugs abuse that is regularly used by majority of peoples which also include all forms of drugs that are usually referred as soft drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, barbiturates among others which affect hundreds of millions of peoples. In United States alone for example, approximately 24% of all patients admitted in hospital in year 2004 suffered from Mental Health and Substance Abuse disorders (MHSA) (Busko, 2007).

According to the 2008 report released by National Survey on Drug Use & Health, marijuana is the single most abused illicit substance in United States with 10% of the population regularly or occasionally abusing the drug (Busko, 2007). This is despite the existence of strict laws and regulation that have been developed to curb access and use of illegal drugs in general; decriminalizing this type of victimless crime would therefore lead to unimaginable increase in illicit drug usage.

In any case current studies indicate that drug abuse is probably not a victimless crime; a recent research study provides evidence that shows people who are most prone to abuse drugs have at one point in their life been victimized in one way or another (Celia, Young and Wesley, 2008). Because drug users resort to substance abuse because of what Celia et all refers as “illegitimate coping strategies”, the implication of this findings indicate that drug users are actively involved in completing the cycle of victimization because they are most likely to “victimize” other people when under the influence (Celia et al, 2008).

The effects of drug abuse in a country is a very costly affair; foremost drug use is sort of a past time that keeps people from engaging in constructive work that would contribute to building of economy. For instance, the 5% population in United States that are engaged in drug abuse, half of whom are marijuana users means they are denying government direct income inform of tax that would have been generated otherwise. And it doesn’t even end there, since the government has to allocate finances towards their rehabilitation as well as enforcing drug laws, this makes them unnecessary burden that cause unnecessary spending of money in this areas.

As if this is not enough drug use is directly proportion to the rate of crime in a country since addicts usually resorts to crimes in order to finance their habits; increased crime rate implies more funding to keep people secure in town and cities; if it is true that 40% of all assaults and violent robbery crimes are attributed to drug use; then it is safe to say curbing drug use will consequently reduce these crime rate by the same proportion (Elsner, 2006). There is no doubt therefore that substance abuse is at least one form of victimless crimes that should be highly regulated.

Gambling is a game that involves wagering money in most cases or anything of value for hope of winning perceived amount of money that is way above what someone is putting in. Currently it is estimated that legal gambling establishments are responsible for controlling a total of $335 billion per annum (Purcel, 1997). There is no doubt that gambling is a victimless crime because it is usually undertaken by parties based on various rules which they must fully consent before they can participate. The tendency to gamble has been described by one research study to conform to Extremely Frequent behavior (EFB) theory which is based on compulsion buying (Ricketts and Macaskill, 2003).

Compulsion spending is a behavior found even among general product consumers and is described as “repetitive and seemingly purposeful behaviors that are performed according to certain rules or in a stereotyped fashion” (Ricketts and Macaskill, 2003). The argument that I wish to advance is that compulsion spending when it comes in gambling is no different than what happens when one is actually spending on consumable goods. It would therefore make no sense in trying to limit people freedom in how best they wish to spend their legally earned money.

All forms of gambling or compulsive spending appears to be a symptom of more serious psychological disorders that influence this kind of spending; this is the same for even the most serious form of gambling referred as Pathological Gambling (PG). A research study by Ricketts and Macaskill that sought to theorize the main determinants of gambling in persons found that majority of gamblers are emotionally prone to become addicted (2003). As such gambling becomes a problem because of other factors that are not associated with loosing or winning aspects of the game. Central to these research findings is the fact that gamblers are as a matter of fact drastically hampered by lack of problem solving skills, have fewer choices of coping skills and markedly exhibits low self esteem compared to other people (Ricketts and Macaskill, 2003).

This is evidence enough which indicate that gambling is a function of several related factors that interact to make a person prone to addiction that is associated with gambling. Because gambling is an end product this would mean that criminalizing it is the wrong approach of solving this problem in the society, rather the government should allocate resources towards addressing these underlying problems to the 2% gamblers who are described as PG because they are the only one negatively affected when they engage in gambling.

Legislation Vs Individual Freedom

A central theme that emerges throughout this paper is the issue of liberty which is freedom to express oneself or act as anyone would wish to as long as their actions do not interfere with other people’s rights. The right to liberty and pursuit of happiness are two of the core values that are expressly provided by the United States constitution as captured in the Declaration of Independence and in the fourth amendment. Liberty is also provided in the Universal Human Rights article; when the government therefore implements legislations to limit these rights to act as one would wish as long as no other people’s right are trumped personal liberty is greatly curtailed and denied.

Libertarianism refers to a theory that advocates for individual freedom in terms of thoughts and actions, what will usually be referred as liberty. The ideology of libertarianism is founded on the principle of natural rights that existed before the advance of governments which is the reason that it advocates for personal liberty to come before the rights of the government.

The Self Ownership theory is an argument that libertarians advances to justify and defend the need for increased personal freedom; the self-ownership theory states that “individuals own themselves – their bodies, talents and abilities, labor, and by extension the fruits or products of their exercise of their talents, abilities and labor” (Dammon, 1987). Thus, because people own themselves they should be at liberty to do what they choose without being regulated by any form of authority, of course as long as their actions are not adverse to the welfare of the other members of the society.

An interesting point that is made by the critiques of libertarianism theory is that unrestricted freedom of choice negatively affects other members of the society that would not otherwise be the case if liberty was limited by the government. However I find this not to be a serious objection because failure to choose is actually a choice in itself; in that case, the section of people that argues to be disadvantaged by the choice of others actually appears to have made a conscious choice of not engaging in activities that they consider to be immoral such as prostitution or drug abuse.

If this section of people enjoys the full liberty to make choices out of their freewill why should they be the first to advocate for reduction of freedom of others? In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls derives the First Principle of Justice and the Second Principle of Justice from one of the key theories that he discusses; the difference principle. The First Principle states that “each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others” (Hikaru, 2009). This principle largely attempted to guarantee the basic human rights of all the persons in a society regardless of their beliefs and values, because these very concepts can never be universal.

History has also taught us that it would be futile for any government to intervene in matters of morality among its people because by and large morality is a term that is relative. For instance during 17 th century for a long time the government used to control the religious beliefs of the people by establishing government churches but which failed and the church was eventually separated from the government. However, legislation alone is not adequate in maintaining order in society and therefore individual freedom is always advocated as a better approach because it primarily allows people to make the right decisions without coercion from the state.

In fact legislation approach of governance indicates that this strategy is very much ineffective; for instance despite a major fear in increased drug abuse that would occur if marijuana use was legalized other research findings indicate otherwise. In some countries where marijuana smoking is legal such as in Denmark and Jamaica the practice is not as rampant as is the case in United States where it is illegal (Parenti, 1999).

Another factor that would support increased liberty is the cost associated with enforcement of most victimless crimes. Unlike legislation, increased liberty would not require any resources to enforce or pass laws because people are given the liberty to make their choices. This difference is substantial to the economy given that in the recently announced 2011 FY budget the Drug Enforcement Agency was awarded a total of $15.5 billion dollars to fight war on marijuana alone (, 2010).

Because legislation is essentially incompatible with the fundamentals of liberty, personal freedom and the need of reliable laws has always been a balancing act that governments have to undertake in order to create a just and safe environment. It is when this balancing act is not well achieved that a society ends up with more victimless crimes than is necessary. In conclusion I would therefore say that most forms of legislation that decriminalize victimless crimes cannot be justified or defensible in that case because personal liberty is a far more valuable principle that governments are chosen and sworn to uphold and the very fabric that defines democracy in the world today. It is therefore time to uphold the spirit of democracy and human rights across the world by giving people more freedom in choosing the way that they wish to live their life; to achieve this we will have to have more of these victimless crimes. (2010). North America Task Force on Prostitution . Web.

Busko, M. (2007). Mental Health Substance Abuse Disorders Account for 1 in 4 Hospital Stays . Web.

Celia, C. Young, K. & Wesley, C. (2008). The Effects of Victimization on Drug Use: A Multilevel Analysis. Journal of Substance Use and Misuse , 43(1): 1340-1361.

Cundiff, Kirby (2004). Prostitution and Sex Crimes . Web.

Chamberin, J., (2010). Mind Disorders . Web.

Dammon C. (1987). A Farewell to Marx: An Outline and Appraisal of his Theories . California: Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.

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Elsner, A. (2006). Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons . Washington, DC: FT Press

Hikaru, O. (2009). Ethical Theories-John Rawls: A Theory of Justice . Web.

ThirdWorldTravellers. (2006). U.S has the Most Prisoners in the World . Web.

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Meir, G. (2010). Prostitution – Regimes of Prohibition, Criminalization, and Regulation . Web.

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Ricketts, T. & Macaskill, A. (2003). Gambling as Emotion Management: Developing a grounded theory of Problem Gambling. Addiction Research and Theory , 11(6): 383-400.

Sobell, B. and Agrawal S. (2009). Substance Abuse Disorders. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors , 23(4): 672-683.

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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).

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 are…a 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).

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)<

Nussbaum, M. C. (1999). Sex & social justice. New York: Oxford University Press

O'Donnell, T. (2000). American holocaust: The price of victimless crime laws. Writer's Digest.

ProCon, 2009. Prostitution Education Network, 1996; Hoffman, C., 1997; American Civil Liberties Union, 2007; U.S. Department of State, 2004.


Schur, E. (1971). Labeling deviant behavior. New York: Harper and Row.

(1980). The politics of deviance. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

(1983). Labeling women deviant: gender, stigma, and social control. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Edition 2 (2008). The Gale Group, Inc.


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Term Paper On Is Prostitution A Victimless Crime

Type of paper: Term Paper

Topic: Business , Social Issues , Women , Health , Trade , Commerce , Crime , Prostitution

Published: 01/29/2020


When a crime is committed without inflicting direct harm on another individual, this crime is often called a victimless crime. This is the type of crime that leaves no obvious victims behind although the act itself may be considered illegal or against established laws. It may also not result to damage to property or threaten the rights of anyone; and, may be committed by the perpetrator alone or in connivance with two or more persons without causing injury to other persons. In such cases, the offense is considered a consensual crime. One such example is prostitution, which renders the one offering sex as an offender and a victim as well. Prostitution has been regarded as a definitive example of a victimless crime, considering that the act is a consensual contract between consenting individuals. The individual selling sex is often viewed as the person to be charged of the crime. However, in instances when this individual is female, she may be considered a victim of the crime as well. While some people will regard prostitution as a victimless crime, I think that it is not a victimless crime because not all who engage in the flesh trade do it on purpose. Some are forced to do it out of need or desperation. In most cases, it is a cry of help because prostitution could be the only choice they have at the time. It could have been borne out of abuse, fear, low self-esteem, or lack of other options in life. In addition, prostitution is a form of sexual harassment and exploitation especially when a prostitute is obligated to perform acts that are against her wishes, but is still forced to do in order to earn a living. As a result, prostitutes end up being emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually scarred. With many prostitutes becoming victims of physical assault or assaults with weapons, it is not a surprise then that many of them resort to suicide or experience post-traumatic disorders. Aside from the prostitutes, other victims of this consensual crime are the wives who are often left unaware of the husband's indiscretions until she (the wife) is infected with communicable diseases brought about by the husband's sexual relations with prostitutes. In most parts of the United States, prostitution is considered illegal because it is widely believed to cause more harm to women. For instance, women engaged in this trade open themselves up to possibilities of rape and various forms of physical and verbal abuses. It also makes them more susceptible to diseases, thus, may become health threats to society. In addition, it exploits women's rights and demeans the womanhood of sex workers. For moralists, they may say that prostitutes deserve whatever negative effects their actions bring; and, because it is immoral, therefore, prostitution must be treated as a crime. However, sex trade workers are still people and no one has the right to put down another individual. Currently, courtrooms deal with prostitution cases where prostitutes and customers pay fines when caught, but return to the same flesh peddling and buying after settling the misdemeanor. Instead of managing the trade, the system only temporarily prohibits individuals from doing the act. In this light, what then is the role of the government in regulating prostitution? For me, the government has a huge responsibility in ensuring the safety of its citizens, regardless of their occupation and financial status. Even if the government bans or criminalizes the prostitution, it will not go away since it has always been there and will continue to happen with or without laws governing prostitution. Thus, I think the best way to approach this problem is for the government to be involved and think of ways on how to assist women engaged in prostitution rather than acting passively towards it. The government may also present ways on how to disengage from the trade, which is extremely beneficial to those who want to leave the trade. What then are the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution? There are some people who are against the legalization of prostitution due to its moral and social impact in society. People say that it could increase rates of teenage pregnancy and divorce rates due to the health impact of legalizing the sex trade. Even if the sex worker is constantly monitored for sexually transmitted diseases, there is no assurance that the "buyer" is free from any diseases. In addition, it gives the impression that the female body is a commodity that men can buy anytime they want. However, legalizing prostitution prohibits pimps from forcing women to abide by rules that further degrade themselves. It means that violence brought about by prostitution will be lessened, including reduction in cases of under-aged prostitution. It also means the health safety of prostitutes will be monitored considering that they will be subjected to constant tests to prevent the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, sex workers will be required to register with the police to obtain licenses to work as prostitutes, thus making it easier to supervise who are legally engaged in the trade. For these reasons, I believe that legalizing prostitution is the best method to control the trade.


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Victimless Crimes in the United States of America Essay

Introduction, substance abuse, decriminalization of prostitution, don’t decriminalize prostitution, yes – decriminalize drugs, no-to drug decriminalize, reference list.

A ‘ victimless crime’ is any activity that is illegal but does not involve physical harm or threatening of the right of another person and does not involve the destruction of property. It involves a situation whereby a person will act alone as well as a consensual act between two parties- there is usually no victim because the illegal activity is consensual -in which two or more people agree to commit a criminal offense without involving a third party, and as a result of that criminal offense there is no apparent victim or pain/injury. Examples of criminal activities which involve victimless crimes are prostitution and drug usage. Prostitution is regarded as a crime in many countries and this involves the act of offering sexual favors in exchange for money and this will involve both men and women. When two parties agree to commit prostitution consensually, neither party can be considered a victim. Another victimless crime is the usage or possession of illegal substances, it is known that a person who is under the influence of drugs can be involved in the destruction of properties, at the same time the person using drugs can damage his/her body through routine use and in this case the user or the possessor of drugs is the victim. “The laws which have been written to take possession of drug or its use is a crime have been largely been written and enforced by non-users, and in this case, the general public is arguable the ‘victimless criminal” (Schur 2006).

Drugs and alcohol abuse is rampant in the United State, there is the need to focus on a special group of people in which the use of illegal drugs magnifies other problems that affect the country in general. African-Americans have been associated with negative social and health consequences which are associated with the possession of illegal drugs and their use. When we compare African-America and whites in the United State, there is a trend in most African-Americans communities whereby there is an early onset of alcoholism and problems which are related to illegal drug use. “The victims of substance abuse have a greater likelihood of being channeled to criminal activities rather than seek treatment for their problems which has been caused by illegal drug uses” (Karnezis 2005).

The Bureau of statistics in the united state has shown that a higher percentage of African-Americans – 40 percent- compare to whites-14 percent- live in poverty and these statistics are found in the rural United States and if a family is headed by a single mother the rural poverty rate increases to 60 percent. In general, in the United State, the rate for the use of illicit substances, for example, nicotine is highest among American Indians and Hispanics but drug use was lowest among African Americans and Asian Americans.

In Canada, scientific findings done over two decades have shown that the use of illegal substances is one of the major factors that has contributed to the increase in criminal activities in that country. The victims who are addicted to expensive drugs like cocaine and heroin, these drug addicts will commit crimes for him/them to be able to afford this type of drug. The average age of victims in Canada who inject themselves with drugs is between 26 to 35 years but several teenagers below the age of 20 years inject themselves and this represents one in every five victims who use the illegal substance. There was a trend in those Canadians who inject themselves their level of education was low as you compare them to those Canadians who do not use drugs.

Children younger than 18 years of age are involved in prostitution in the United State and are invariably victims of sexual exploitation in that country. When we compare them to an adult they are more vulnerable in the sex sector, and they are victims of debt bondage, trafficking from other improvised countries which are found in the Asia continent. Commercial sexual exploitation in children is a form of violence against children and this has life-threatening consequences on those children who are being sexually exploited. “Majority of women and girls in the United State are accorded relatively low social status and this together with poverty makes this girl an easy target for sexual exploitation” (Brinkerhoff 2007).

“ The question is, should we legalize prostitution or not, there is no question about prostitution being morally wrong on the spiritual books i.e. the Bible for Christians and the Quran for Muslims” (Brinkerhoff 2007). In any country in the world, legislation is passed for many reasons, but its primary purpose is to protect the people in that country. Prostitution Research researched prostitution and their finding was that 92 percent of the women who are involved in prostitution wanted to leave prostitution. But they could not because they lack basic human needs like healthcare and food. The average age of girls who enter into prostitution is 14 years, nearly 60 percent of prostitutes are being raped during prostitution, and 60 percent of the girls who enter into prostitution have been forced against their own will, while others have been forced due to economic hardship. The person who is being harmed the most is the person’s wife who buys sex and we can say he is the primary criminal because he is the one who is doing the most damage to society. “Preponderance issues which are associated with prostitution are many, issues like rape, drug abuse, adultery, murder, divorce, etc due to these issues we need to legalize prostitution to prevent them from occurring” (Brinkerhoff 2007).

In another study conducted in San Francisco, it is believed that 62 percent of women working in massage parlors had been physically harmed at one time, and this was only half of the parlors that offer massage services, because those massage parlors which were controlled by pimps or sex traffickers, their percentage are higher for women to be victimized while in their line of work. When a country doesn’t decriminalize prostitution, it will increase the danger the women are undergoing while prostituting. There is evidence in any part of the world where prostitution has not been legalized; it has been a magnet for traffickers and the ‘john’s’. Making prostitution to be a criminal offense will be a legal welcome to traffickers and prostitution will increase dramatically become another purchase of a commodity, like bread. For example in New Zealand, it was noted an increase in organized crime in just a little over a year since prostitution was a criminal offense.

It is not the prostitute in the United State who is wholly responsible for the transmission of Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs). A study was conducted in 2008 by The Center for Disease Control and the shocking facts were that prostitutes were responsible for less than 3 percent of all the transmission in that country. The majority of sexually transmitted diseases were contributed by the students in high school and college-going students unless we were talking about the prostitutes who were injecting themselves with drugs-which accounts for about 15 percent of all the working prostitutes operating in the United State. Not forgetting those consenting adults who engage in sex with prostitutes, these people have been practicing safe sex, and using condoms for years has resulted in fewer and fewer cases of Sexually Transmitted Diseases STDs.

In Germany prostitutes are working in certain areas which have been designated by the government and the brothel owners may just be business owners like any other businessmen in Germany. The government takes 50 percent in the form of ‘sin taxes’ of the profit while owners of brothels and prostitutes share the remaining 50 percent. Every week these brothels are required to undergo health checks and the sex workers in these brothels are forced to undergo forced STI checks every Thursday. After the compulsory testing, the Sex worker is required to display her status on the wall in which he is doing her trade of prostitution. “It is a policy in Germany for sex workers to demand the people visiting the prostitute are required to wear a condom, and with all this, we have seen prevailing rate in STDs is low in countries like Germany” (Gomme 1998).

“It is not possible to protect a prostitute whose source of income exposes her to the likelihood of her being raped at least once in a week” this is according to feminist activist based in San Francisco, Melissa Farley in her book “Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress,” (2004). In her book she quotes a survivor of prostitution, “It is simply shameful and not possible to tell in words the intense pain and struggle I have undergone when I was a prostitute, I chose prostitution because I didn’t have any other option and it was because of emotional, financial and lack of family support that I engage in prostitution. It is completely erroneous to think there is no violence in the brothels that I had worked in, there was some incident, which customers intentionally remove protective (condoms) against my wishes, I now choose to be an advocate against prostitution because so many innocent lives are being lost due to prostitution”. With this in mind, it has been illustrated that those people who are involved in advocating for the legalization of prostitution are a small minority in a country. In an argument about prostitution, a person always refers to exclusively to physical harm: HIV/AIDs, physical assault, killings of prostitution. In her research, Melissa Farley has included women who were willing to assume the role of a prostitute, only to discover later the difficulties these women were undergoing in their trade. What we call it ‘victimless crime’, is not the case because there is no choice the way an ordinary person will think, simply there is no genuine consent between the parties, men usually have an upper hand, because the choice prostitute is assumed to be having is not there and prostitute has suffered physical abuse, rape, etc as result of that.

There is no difference between prostitution and rape, or incest, or battering. The difference is that in prostitution there is a money reward and this gain will make sexual exploitation to be invisible in prostitutes. Most of the damages the women who engage in prostitution are undergoing are not physical but it is psychological. Unfortunately, the thing will happen if the country legalizes prostitution rather than decriminalizing it, “what will happen is that the country will end up exchanging one exploitive system for an another-one set of bureaucrats in the form of the government bureaucrats” (Gomme 1998). The Sex worker is then required to display her grade A Disease-Free Meat certificate on the wall of her working room. “It is a policy in Germany for sex workers to demand the people visiting the prostitute are required to wear a condom, and with all this, we have seen prevailing rate in STDs is low in countries like Germany” (Gomme 1998).

A well-thought-out policy on the use of drugs will lower gun crime, burglaries, and the prison population will decrease by 50 percent. Tax revenues as a result of drug use will increase in Britain, however, politicians in Britain would never dare suggest this to the lawmakers. The prohibition of drugs in Britain has failed in a way that the illegal drug trade is not controlled by the government but it’s being controlled by the violent criminal gangs. The current policy in Britain is driving more women into prostitution and has left crime for low-income addicts. If currently the use of illegal drugs was legalized the same way tobacco and alcohol are heavily taxed. The money realized from taxing drugs could be channeled into education and rehabilitation programs. “With drug traffickers out of the equation, the lawmakers would mean users could purchase from the joints where drugs had not been tainted with other harmful substances” (Farley 2007).

In 2001 Portugal abolished all the penalties that are associated with substance abuse, they argued that jail terms to the addict were driving the addict further underground and incarceration was more expensive than treatment of the addicts, “nowadays person found possessing small dosage of drugs are sent before a panel which consists of psychologist and legal adviser and appropriate treatment is instituted to the victim of the drug instead of jail term” (Farley 2007). When we compare Portugal’s case with those in other European countries and the United State where the number of drug use is rampant, Portugal has the lowest rate of lifetime drug use in people under the age of 18 years in the United State, the proportion is 12:39.9 percent. “The lifetime use of illegal substance use among the 7 th to 9 th grade fell from 19.1 percent to 10.6 percent, and the lifetime heroin use among the teens fell from 2.5 percent to 1.8 percent” (Karnezis 2005). In the United state, they have experienced problems with drugs overflowing from their neighboring country i.e. Mexico. The United state has been a champion of hard-line drug policy, imposing strict penalties on cocaine and marijuana use in the world. “While most of the countries in Europe with liberal substance use laws that than the United State has less drug use” (Karnezis 2005).

The chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Joseph Califono believe decriminalization of illegal substance is not the answer nor is the legislation passed by lawmakers in the United State. The government needs to channel the available resources to combat abuse and addiction among the youth in any country. The problem when a country decriminalizes drugs is that the price for that substance will come down, and it will be easier to buy and more acceptable to use among the vulnerable members of the society i.e. the teens. An example is legislation that is found in Italy, Italy is believed to have one of the highest rates of heroin use in Europe, is because limited amounts of heroin do not bring criminal sanctions in the country. Sweden is another country in Europe to tighten its laws on drugs, substance abuse includes cocaine was rampant in that country in the early 90s. The government decided to tighten drug control and use, set up a national action plan against illegal substance use. In Sweden today the drug use is 70 percent below the average European usage. A county like the United States does not make substance use dangerous because it has been prohibited; “ rather an illegal drug becomes prohibited because it is harmful to the society, and liberalizing drug laws will increase drug uses in the youth and children” (Schur 2006).

Brinkerhoff, D.B. (2007). Essentials of Sociology . New York: Cengage Learning Publisher.

Gomme, I.M. (1998). The shadow line: deviance and crime in Canada . Harcourt: Harcourt Brace Canada Publisher.

Farley, M. (2007). Prostitution, trafficking, and traumatic stress . New York: Routledge Publisher.

Karnezis, K.C. (2005). Victimless crimes . Iowa: University of Iowa Institute of Public Affairs Publisher.

Schur, E.M. (2006). Victimless crimes: two sides of a controversy . London: Prentice-Hall Publisher.

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