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Drugs, Prostitution and the Legal System.

08 April 2013, 12:00

Recent media reports of police brutality and rape of sex workers has highlighted the failure of the current system regulating this industry. Criminalizing both drugs and prostitution is clearly not working. There has to be a better solution to these problems.

Drugs and prostitution are not going to go away, they need to be managed in a more effective way.

How does criminalization affect the drug and prostitution world?  Drug users are often driven to crime and prostitution by their addiction, in my view as a direct result of the criminalization of the two.

Firstly lets look at the drug trade.

1.    There is an element of excitement and danger associated with illegality, which can make it more appealing to young rebellious teenagers.

2.   Risk creates scarcity, which in turn inflates prices and profits.

3.   Being unlawful, there is no regulation or quality control in place, exposing users to dangerous practices by dealers.

4.   Drug users are exposed to the criminal underworld, exposing them to amongst other things, prostitution.

5.   Addicts are very often driven to crime to feed their habit.

Secondly Prostitution.

1.   Criminalization simply does not work, as is evident all over the world.

2.   As with the drug trade, unregulated prostitution exposes sex workers & clients to greater health risks.

3.    Again, clients are forced to have contact with the criminal underworld.

4.    Sex workers are not protected by the law, and are further victimized, in South Africa by the SAP.

Both industries are unregulated, untaxed and all involved remain exposed to abuse. 

The solution is very simple; take the profit incentive out of the equation with respect to the drug trade, legalize all drugs. Regulate the production, quality and distribution (much like the Pharmaceutical and Alcohol industries).

Drug dealers are in business, they are profit driven, take away the profit and the dealer is going to look elsewhere for an income. Make ‘clean’ drugs available, cheaply. Drug dealers actively cultivate their market and have been known to offer ‘freebies’ to customers who are trying to quit, to keep them using, that is why they are called ‘pushers’. 

Educate the public as to the real dangers associated with drug use. Real, verified information. Most Kids learn about drugs from their friends, the information is more often than not incorrect. Expose it for what it is, in a transparent way. 

Maybe some sort of licensing system can be devised, where individuals have to be of a certain age and have to attend classes and write an exam or visit a rehab center before being able to purchase the drug of their choice.

At least it would be an informed choice, in a controlled environment, with a quality-controlled product.

There are many benefits to legalizing both industries. Tax revenue will increase, costs associated with drug law enforcement, customs etc. will decrease. The general health of both industries will be greatly improved.

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