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Illegal Drug Use, Prostitution and Money Laundering

The essay explores the topics of illegal drug use, illegal prostitution, and money laundering. Drugs can be considered a part of human society since the mid-20th century. Drugs and crime are related since they lead to a mental or physical state of individuals that is conducive for engaging in criminal activities; fuel a pressing need that forces individuals to participate in crime to satisfy it; and push people to be engaged in the use, sale, and production of illegal substances. Prostitution is the commercial interchange of money or goods agreed upon by the parties for sexual favors. It is crime that is illegal in many states in the United States. Money laundering is the process of making money gained illegally to appear legal. It is performed in three phases by the means of using various methods. The practices appear to be interlinked.

Illegal drug use, prostitution, and money laundering are some of the most common contemporary crimes in the society. Despite the various efforts made by law enforcement agencies to deal with crimes, it has been difficult to confront them and reduce their occurrence. A greater understanding of the crimes, the ways how they are perpetrated, as well as their relation and new strategies for addressing them is required for them to be addressed effectively.

Illegal Drug Use

Drugs can be considered a part of human society since the mid-20th century. During the 1960s, music and media played a significant role in popularizing their use. Statistics shows that 8% of the American population from the ages of 12 and above engages in the use of illegal substances (Felson & Staff, 2017). Alcohol, although not considered illegal, is the most commonly abused drug in the country. Moreover, marijuana was the most common illicit drug that was abused in the country for a long time owing to its availability and cost (Papp et al., 2016). However, most states have legalized the use of the substance, and it is no longer considered illegal. The use of illicit drugs is a global epidemic that needs effective strategies to be addressed. The most common drugs abused in society include cocaine, alcohol, heroin, lysergic acid, and ecstasy among others. Drugs are linked to the existence of various social problems, such as poverty and crime (Felson & Staff, 2017). In criminology, the use of illegal substances is a significant area of concern due to its relationship with crime.

Drugs are not always termed as illegal, and their use and sale are not always a cause of crime. However, drugs have been linked to crime historically. The relationship between drugs and criminal activities is one that has a long history, which has been used in various fiction situations, media reports, and is a significant subject for scientific investigations. The most common crimes committed by drug users include theft, robbery, burglary, assault, prostitution, and rape among others (Papp et al., 2016). Drugs and crime are related since they lead to a mental or physical state of individuals that is conducive for engaging in criminal activities; fuel a pressing need that forces individuals to participate in crime to satisfy it; and push people to be engaged in the use, sale, and production of illegal substances (Felson & Staff, 2017). The link can also be classified into a psychopharmacological relation, compulsive fiscal link, and a systemic connection.

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Illegal drug and crime are related to one another in a variety of ways. The use of drugs has an immediate effect on the mind and the body, thus creating a mental or physical state, which makes an individual aggressive (Felson & Staff, 2017). When a person is aggressive, they may easily engage in fights.

Drugs are also connected to crime since they create a need to satisfy an addiction. On most occasions, the individuals are forced to engage in criminal activities to acquire the necessary funds to buy illegal substances. Drugs create a pressing need to consume them, and without them, a user becomes withdrawn (Felson & Staff, 2017). Therefore, if a human being lacks the funds to buy the drugs, they may engage in predatory crime, such as robbery and theft.

The substances are related to crime since some of them are illegal and should not be used, traded, or produced. However, the people still engage in their use and production. Illicit drugs are believed to enrich people quickly based on the risks involved, which allows the manufacturers to make them expensive. Currently, transnational drug trafficking is a significant challenge with the organizations engaged in the trade becoming a dumpsite for smuggled stimulants (Felson & Staff, 2017). Most countries globally are experiencing a problem with drug trafficking. Organizations involved in the practice represent a considerable share of economic activities in the society.

The increased abuse of substances often sustains criminal behavior. According to the subcultural and ecological theory, the use of drugs and crime may originate from the same etiological variables, thus becoming an integral part of the street-drug-using subculture (Felson & Staff, 2017). The radical theory also states that the relationship between crime and drug is based on the social policy, which makes the use of drugs illegal and fails to consider this connection (Felson & Staff, 2017). Addiction to drugs and lack of funds to buy more substances lead to withdrawal, which then forces an individual to engage in unlawful activities to satisfy their need. According to research, the perceived need for the substances increases predatory crimes, such as robbery, theft, and burglary (Felson & Staff, 2017). It has also been linked to entrepreneurial crimes, such as selling drugs or engaging in prostitution. When the addiction goes untreated, an increase in the engagement of an individual in criminal activities is experienced, which can then lead to an individual engaging in major crimes, such as assault and murder (Felson & Staff, 2017). Therefore, there is an overlap that exists among offenders and drug users. Alcohol, although not considered an illegal substance, plays a significant role in the drug and crime relationship. Heavy alcohol drinking is linked to criminal offenses.

Therefore, based on the link that exists between illegal drug use and crime, the law enforcement agencies need to ensure they come up with effective policies to address the epidemic. The officers should monitor the drug smuggling to break the existing regional trafficking hubs in their areas (Felson & Staff, 2017). Programs to sensitize the use of the adverse effects of drugs should also be adopted to decrease their consumption. Thus, addressing the use of drugs could lead to a reduction in criminal activities within society.

Prostitution

Prostitution is the moneymaking interchange of funds, goods, or some service agreed upon by the parties for sex. In many controls, it is considered a prohibited activity. The law concerning the practice varies widely with some countries allowing it as a legal activity and others considering it a capital crime that is punishable by death. Prostitution is termed as a form of abuse of the rights of humans and a bout on the self-respect and value of human beings (Sanders, 2017). However, the subject is often met with different ideas. On the one hand, it is considered illegal, including its surrounding activities. On the other hand, it is regarded as legal and a legitimate occupation. In the United States, most of the state laws consider prostitution an illegal activity; thus, they punish both parties of the process (Sanders, 2017). Despite the practice being considered illegal, it is still ongoing in many countries globally.

The term “sex worker” was invented to avoid the stigma associated with the practice of prostitution, and it affirms the fact that such person generates income for the perpetrators. Prostitution was initially considered a social problem and a vector of disease. However, in recent times, research is focusing on the trauma and coping problems encountered by sex workers (Sanders, 2017). The practice is termed as illegal to eliminate and reduce it. The practice often leads to significant harm to sex workers. It is the case for women, with many cases being reported of women being raped or forced to perform other acts without their consent. The females who engage in the act describe it as paid rape or voluntary slavery (Sanders, 2017). It is sexual aggravation and mistreatment of a seller. According to studies, women who engage in prostitution are on most occasions victims of rape and homicide in comparison to other groups of women who have been studied before.

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In situations where prostitution has been legalized, women in the prostitution experience sexual violence and physical assault. The studies show that most individuals who work as sex workers have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Sanders, 2017). The condition is also prevalent in women who are victims of rape and domestic violence. The traumatic consequences of prostitution are similar regardless of the practice being legal, tolerated, or illegal. The practice has been linked to other crimes, such as rape, violence, and human trafficking. Therefore, the criminal justice system should work to ensure that illegal prostitution is combated to minimize the harm that it causes to the individuals. The punishment for both a seller and customer should be equal, and policies should be set in place to ensure the offenders are punished accordingly to deter the practice in the society.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the practice of making currency acquired illegally to seem legal. It is a crime that adversely affects the economy of a country. The practice is a common contemporary crime that developed in the late 20th century. The law enforcement agencies have tried to combat the offence and search the proceeds of crime. The various anti-laundering activities cover the relationship that exists between money laundering and corruption or funding the terrorist activities (Rose-Ackerman & Palifka, 2018). The criminal justice system has worked to ensure the adverse effects of the practice are controlled through a set of broad and intrusive controls that prevent money laundering. The process of money laundering is carried out in three phases, namely placement, layering, and integration.

Placement denotes the process of moving the money from its source in situations where it can be disguised or misrepresented. The money is then placed in circulation through various financial institutions and business (Rose-Ackerman & Palifka, 2018). Nowadays, there is a range of techniques that are used in the placement step of money laundering. The money can be smuggled by carrying them physically out of a country, which ensures that a discernible audit trail is not in existence. Placement can also utilize loopholes in foreign market exchange markets of transitional economies that allow liberalization. Security brokers support money laundering by configuring large cash payments that cover the sources of funds. Bank complicity involves financial institutions owned by launders being used to facilitate the process. A classic form of money laundering is the purchase of assets, such as real estate properties, vehicles, and other high-value items. The method allows the launders to change the form of proceeds from illegal activities from conspicuous bulk sums of money to assets that are less conspicuous but have the same value as the cash. All these methods allow the money to be placed in circulation, thus making it legal.

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The second phase of money laundering is layering, which is used to ensure that the activity is more difficult to detect. Therefore, the law enforcement agencies have a hard time trailing the illegal proceeds. The primary methods used are the conversion of cash into monetary instruments and buying of assets with cash and reselling them (Rose-Ackerman & Palifka, 2018). Once the money has been successfully placed within the financial system through a financial institution, money orders and bank drafts are then utilized to convert them into monetary instruments. The assets bought during the placement can then be resold, which makes it more difficult for the proceeds to be traced and seized by the authorities.

The third step is integration, which involves the movement of money that was laundered previously into the economy through the banking system, hence making it appear as usual earnings from businesses. The various methods are also applied in this phase by the criminals. The first method is property dealing, which involves selling the property to integrate the money from illegal activities into the economy (Rose-Ackerman & Palifka, 2018). The second process is the use of foreign bank complicity, which provides a significant challenge for law enforcement officers. Moreover, the criminals use front companies to loan themselves loans from illegal activities in transactions that appear legitimate, for example, the use of false import and export invoices that are then used to justify the funds that are then deposited into domestic banks.

With the development of technology and the globalization of markets, money laundering has been on the increase. The trend has made it easy for money to make multiple jurisdictions leaps on a daily basis. Global markets have few restrictions, hence allowing money launders to use the various loopholes that exist. According to statistics, the size of global money laundering is estimated to be between 2% and 5% of the world economic output (Dre?ewski, Sepielak, & Filipkowski, 2015). Most of the money is gained from illegal drug trafficking and also from fraud and organized crime. Cyber laundering is becoming a significant menace, as it provides criminals with new and undetectable methods (Dre?ewski et al., 2015). It is the use of the internet for money laundering activities.

Money laundering has adverse effects on the economy and dents the reputation of integrity held by the financial system. The practices threaten the confidence in the financial system, which is in existence. Financial institutions that are linked with laundering activities knowingly or unknowingly are likely to face loses both financially and legally (Rose-Ackerman & Palifka, 2018). The practices possess considerable risks to the financial systems and economy as a whole. Additionally, studies show a significant link that exists between corruption and laundering (Dre?ewski et al., 2015). Therefore, the activity can negatively affect the social system if money launders acquire the ability to control the economy. The money from criminal activities is not taxed, thus adversely affecting the economy of a country. Nations rely on money gained from taxes for it to develop and provide the citizens with the necessary resources. Money launders, however, evade taxes, hence slowing down the economy.

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In law enforcement, five offenses are considered a part of money laundering, namely assistance, concealment, acquisition, failure to disclose, and tipping off. Support involves a situation where an individual engages in an arrangement with another part with the knowledge that the party is engaged in criminal activities and assists people to retain or control the proceeds from the action (Rose-Ackerman & Palifka, 2018). Concealment refers to the disguise and transfer of proceeds from illegal activities to avoid prosecution. Acquisition relates to the use or possession of assets or profits with the knowledge of it being from criminal activity. Tipping off involves informing an individual engaged in illegal activities about the possibility of law enforcement agencies to uncover their money laundering activities.

Illegal drug use, prostitution, and money laundering are all linked together since one activity can lead to the existence of another. Illicit drug use may force an individual to engage in prostitution to acquire funds for satisfying the perceived need that is caused by addiction to drugs. Additionally, proceeds gained from the sale of drugs lead to money laundering, as the criminals find ways to disguise their profits. Additionally, money laundering could be a consequence of prostitution since the funds from such activities have to be turned into legitimate earnings.

Conclusively, illegal drug use, prostitution, and money laundering are all crimes that appear to be challenging to deal with. All these offences have been in existence for a long time, and despite the measures that have been put in place, the criminals have come up with ways to utilize loopholes and continue engaging in the crimes. Therefore, the criminal justice system needs to come up with new policies and strategies that would combat these crimes and ensure they are significantly reduced within society. The necessary measures in place would allow to apprehend the perpetrators of these criminal activities and deal with accordingly.

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