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We accompanied law enforcement officers to a small house in a rural, remote area of Hidalgo County. Several young children were found among the immigrants being housed in squalid conditions. According to the suspect, the proceeds from the sales of counterfeiting goods at the local flea markets were being utilized by the cartel to fund its human trafficking operations and supply itself with free labor. This article originally appeared on the Crisis Response Journal , a global information resource covering all aspects of human-induced natural disasters, spanning response, disaster risk reduction, resilience , business continuity and security.
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Learn more. Feature Story. Contact UL. Vices may be immoral, they may be addictive, they may be ruinous, they may be foolish, and they may be sinful, but crimes they are not.
Only actions that cause harm to others or their property without their consent should be crimes. What is unjust, immoral, and unethical should not necessarily be criminal. Prosecuting Americans for committing victimless crimes not only turns vices into crimes, it unnecessarily makes criminals out of otherwise law-abiding Americans; is an illegitimate function of government; criminalizes voluntary, consensual, peaceful activity; costs far more than any of its supposed benefits; does violence to individual liberty and private property; and is incompatible with a free society.
That does not mean that certain victimless crimes are not immoral, sinful, unethical, or dangerous. It does not mean that any or all victimless crimes are wholesome, good, healthy, or noble. Adultery is generally viewed as immoral, but few want it to be against the law to commit adultery.
Divorce has negative consequences for children, but few want it to be against the law to get a divorce. So why do so many people want to criminalize victimless crimes such as drug use, prostitution, and price gouging? Committing victimless crimes may be addictive, unhealthy, unwise, risky, irresponsible, injurious, dangerous, immoral, ruinous, sinful, or just plain stupid, but it is not for the government to decide what risks people should be permitted to take and what kinds of behaviors they should be allowed to engage in — as long as their actions are peaceful, private, voluntary, and consensual; and as long as those who freely and willingly participate in such acts are not harming or violating the personal or property rights of nonparticipants.
Possessing illegal drugs is a victimless crime. If one owns his own body, then he has the right to put any substance he wants into his body, from marijuana to fentanyl and anything between. It is not the proper role of government to prohibit, regulate, restrict, or otherwise control what a man desires to eat, drink, smoke, inject, absorb, snort, sniff, inhale, swallow, or otherwise ingest into his mouth, nose, veins, or lungs.
Working without a license is a victimless crime. Why is it that some Americans must get permission from the government to open a business, engage in commerce, work in certain occupations, have a particular vocation, or provide a service to willing customers? Since when is it the business of government to forbid or permit people to exercise what should be their natural right to make a living? Since when is it the business of government to forbid or permit people to freely contract with other people to provide them services? Prostitution is a victimless crime.
People who support laws against prostitution do not generally support laws against fornication and adultery. But why does the introduction of money suddenly turn fornication and adultery into criminal offenses? If it is legal for a woman to provide free sexual services as often as she wants and to as many people as she wants, then how can it be illegal for her to charge for her services? How can something that is legal to give away be illegal if one charges for it?
Is Prostitution a Victimless Crime?
Selling a kidney is a victimless crime. If an individual owns his own body, then he likewise owns all of the organs in his body. Overseeing the procurement of bodily organs is an unconstitutional and illegitimate function of government that could be handled entirely and more efficiently by the private sector on the free market. Gambling is a victimless crime. Everyone should have the freedom to do what he wishes with his own money, including waste it, burn it, give it away, hide it under a mattress, squander it, or gamble it away. Ticket scalping is a victimless crime. Ticket scalpers are middlemen and entrepreneurs who perform a valuable service.
What could possibly be wrong with an exchange of tickets for cash between a willing buyer and a willing seller, as long as their activity does not violate the property rights of the owner of the ground where they make their exchange?