European Union and Crime Essay

Total Length: 2237 words ( 7 double-spaced pages)

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Organized Crime: A Contested Concept

The presence of organized crime in modern society is not as a cut and dry concept as most people would intuitively think. Take for example the existence of prostitution in virtually every society that has existed throughout the course of humanity. Although it is clear that this practice falls outside the realm of what is considered to be acceptable by the majority, many of the practitioners of this trade are actually grateful that they have the opportunity, the clients are obviously satisfied or else the demand for such services would not exist in the first place, and there is, in most cases, no one that is actually harmed in the process (at least directly). Therefore, whether organized or not, where does the actual criminality for such practices come into play? Is it because some people and/or groups believe it fall outside their limits of moral acceptability? Or is it because someone is either directly or indirectly harmed in the process?

Prostitution is often cited as an example of a case in which there is a victim-less crime. Although there are cases in which people may be forced into the trade against their will, which is obviously questionable and likely criminal, in many cases all the parties involved are fully consenting and willing in a majority of the activities that occur in this controversial industry. Other industries, such as drugs for example, are more complex, but also have an element of consent that on some level could also lead them to be considered a victim-less crime. Many advanced nations, especially the U.S., have embarked upon a retribution scheme for punishment that shown to be counterproductive from many perspectives. This analysis will take a hard look at what is perceived to be "crime" and try to unpack the criminality of certain issues on a more objective basis than what is typically applied to many subjectively determined acts of criminality.


Prostitution is one of the crimes that is often referred to when anyone talks about the occurrence, or potential, of a "victim-less" crime. Of course, such a debate does not focus on the individuals that engage in such actions because they are forced to for some reason that is beyond their own will, yet others draw no such distinction. An example of this is clearly the realization that human trafficking for prostitution is a real occurrence that harms many vulnerable women around the globe. In fact, some argue that there is actually no difference between prostitution and sexually-based human trafficking because of the lack of choice that drive this institution. Kansas State University describes the problem as containing many elements that are not based on consensual choice (Freedom Alliance at Kansas State University, N.d.):

"Sex trafficking is essentially the buying or selling of a person for the purpose of sexual exploitation or the trade in rape, as IJM calls it. "Demand fuels the purchase of human beings for sex" and if there is a demand, people will make sure to provide a supply. The reason why the demand is so high is because of our culture that "tolerates or promotes sexual exploitation; men who buy commercial sex; exploiters who make up the sex industry; and states that are complicit in providing safe haven for pimps and traffickers either as source or destination countries.

In the past few years as more research and focus has been on human trafficking, it has been found that there are a significant number of boys and men that are sex trafficked as well. In some areas, up to 50% of children have been boys. Unfortunately, there are not many services or safe homes for girls or women that are trafficking victims. Even more unfortunate is that there is not a single safe home in the U.S. for trafficked boys (though one is currently being built)."

It seems clear from such arguments that organizations such as this are attempting to broaden the base of concerned individuals by citing the instances that are not restricted only to the female gender. Furthermore, this group also goes on to deny the instances of people who enter into the trade consensually by citing statistics of factors that would imply that everyone who enters into the trade are somehow coerced in some manner.

In a perfect world, it would seem reasonable to suspect that no female would want to enter in the field of prostitution willingly. Some argue that women are virtually forced into the trade because of factors that are related to things such as poverty and oppression. In the words of Daniel Walker, an undercover investigator into the sex industry (Giant, 2012)

"I would be doing them {prostitutes} a gross disservice to pretend that there are not degrees of freedom and more subtle forms of exploitation involved in every case. What broke my heart on many occasions was hearing the stories of women who were equally enslaved by poverty, sexism, gender inequality or addiction. While they fell outside the narrow legal definition of "forced" or "trafficked" and were therefore beyond our ability to assist, they longed for an alternative means of survival and for the opportunity to escape the invisible chains that held them." -- God in a Brothel

Therefore, even those who believe that some individuals enter into the field in a legitimate and consensual arrangement, that these individuals only do so because they are somehow forced into the trade by other related factors such as poverty. Other girls who have been involved in the industry have also pointed to instances of being underage immigrants who had histories of trauma and abuse (Lloyd, 2015). They have claimed that the presence of an exponentially growing adult sex industry has led to both the rates of child exploitation as well as in human trafficking as shady entrepreneurs have seek to fill the demand that different populations have produced. However, disturbing the idea of commercial sex may be to many people, it's naive to believe that prostitution can ever be eliminated entirely; the demand for sex will be met with supply, one way or….....

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Works Cited

Agustin, L. (1988). Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry. London: Zed Books.

Albert, A. (2004, November). Is Prostitution Immoral? Retrieved from

Cho, S., Dreher, A., & Neumayer, E. (2012). Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking? World Development, 67-82.

Freedom Alliance at Kansas State University. (N.d.). Sex Trafficking and Prostitution. Retrieved from Freedom Alliance at Kansas State University:

Giant, S. (2012, October). Types of Modern Slavery. Retrieved from The Exodus Road:

Greenwald, G. (2009). Drug Decriminalization in Portugal. Cato Institute.

Lloyd, R. (2015, August 24). Legalized Prostitution Leads to More Trafficking. Retrieved from The New York Times:

Lopes, A. (2006, March). Is Legal Prostitution a Legitimate Business? Retrieved from

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