- Politics and Social Issues
A Solution to Human Trafficking, Child Prostitution, and Drug Crimes
If you're like me, you hear about stories of 'rape trees' (here's another link), human trafficking (another link), child prostitution, drug crimes, gang wars, and all the other horrors of modern social issues, and think about how dangerous and unethical life has become.
But is it really that simple? Is the explanation really just that people have decided to become less moral? If we were to ask people who partake in these god-awful activities, would they explain that, one day, they just up-and-decided to be evil? Or is there a more understandable, comprehensive explanation for it all?
This article will be a proposed solution - lord knows I can't solve everything! The arguments will be based off of liberty, the Constitution, and an economic understanding of human nature and action.
Why Are The Problems Problems At All?
This is quite possibly the most important question to ask. Many people, when dealing with the issues at hand, will talk about how we need to arrest more people, prevent X and Y, hunt down those responsible, and whatnot. But we need to ask ourselves why are these things problems to begin with?!
Let's begin with drugs - why are these drugs so horrible? Certainly many people will argue that heroine, cocaine, crack, weed, cigarettes, alcohol, and many other drugs are bad for you.
But what is the major problem with drugs? Is the problem really just that they are immoral substances? Is it that people are just having too much fun with them? Or is the problem that people become addicted to them and they will end up ruining their lives to continue their addiction?
I think most people can argue that, indeed, the last argument - that people can become addicted - is the most likely candidate.
Indeed, addiction is a problem. I personally am already addicted to too many things - food, water, the necessary nutrients, sleep, a nice warm home, and my computer. Lord knows I don't want to add cocaine or tobacco to that list!
But addiction only really hurts the person who uses/abuses the substance. Why should I care if some guy in another state gets addicted to heroine? It's horrible, and I would feel sorry for him, but lord knows his addiction doesn't directly affect my life in any way.
The real reason I would care about someone else's addiction is that it would simply consume them - the high price of the drug would force them to commit crimes, or the fact that they can't "shoot up" at work might prevent them from holding a job, or, because the person needs to hide away in shame due to their addiction, they would be abandoning their family and friends and possibly becoming a leech on society (depending on welfare laws and the sort).
This is the biggest issue with illegal drugs - they cause people to give up on their 'societal duties' because they have to constantly be paying for their drug and hiding their addiction from everyone in their lives.
Rape Trees and Immigration
Well, honestly, I'm sure that no one really has problems with immigrants. What's there to hate? They want to work, they work hard, etc. The only real problems are that they immigrate in massive numbers and that some people are afraid that their culture might be infringed upon. I personally can't argue whether this concern is founded or not (who can?), but I can argue, with ease, that just about everyone in the US either is or was an immigrant from a foreign state (My family came from Italy, Germany, Romania, and a bunch of other random places).
The real 'problems' with immigration are hard to pin down. Most people who dislike immigrants most likely do so because they have to compete over low-wage jobs, or because, perhaps (I'm not sure of the statistics), they might think that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes, or because they feel that illegal immigrants necessarily broke the law in order to come to the country, or maybe because they feel that a lot of immigrants are mooching off the welfare state. I'm not fully sure what the causes of the anger is, but I can only logically draw up these possibilities.
Do people actually hate immigrants just because they are immigrants? I doubt it, but then again, you never know.
I would think that some of the problems with human trafficking (not all of them) would pertain to immigration. Many immigrants try to come into America for the hope of a better future and a more promising life. Many go into horrible debt to pay for safe travel into the US, and there are groups of people who raid the incoming immigrants to abduct them and sell them into servitude.
Gang Crimes and Prostitution
Gang crimes and forced prostitution are both inter-related and separate from the previous issues, so I wanted to talk about them a bit separately.
Many gang crimes can be put under the heading of "Drugs". Of course not all of them can - many gangs require 'protection money' and other such things, but many gang crimes begin with drugs. The Mafia took hold and came to power thanks to prohibition. The major gangs committing crimes make a substantial chunk of their money through drug trafficking - you can see this in the wonderful book Gang Leader for a Day, by Sudhir Venkatesh, I highly recommend reading it (it's linked here through amazon.com), or in the numerous comedy sketches by Dave Chappelle, the stand up of Chris Rock, or by just visiting your local police station and asking them about drug crimes.
Another way gangs can make money is prostitution. This is mostly a problem due to morality issues and because the (usually) women are treated pretty horribly with no safety nets to protect them. If a 'trick' (is this proper use of the term? the person who pays for sex?) or the pimp (if she is able to get a pimp) beats the prostitute then there is little she can do - she obviously can't go to the local police station. In fact, many police would prefer to get free 'favors' from the prostitute instead of arresting them (discussed in Gang Leader for a Day)
Child prostitution, another disgusting and vile plague on our society, generally comes about when a child is abandoned, they runaway, they are pressured from parents, or just simply being abducted during immigration attempts. Usually the abandoned or runaway child is just simply trying to make ends meet, and the easiest way to make money is (likely) prostitution.
The Proposed Solution
My proposed solution is to simply follow our great country's history of immigration, and to follow the Constitution.
Believe in Immigration
Our country is founded by one simple word: immigration. There are few people who can claim that their entire family tree is made up of only natives (I don't really want to use this as an argument, but even the Native-Americans emigrated from Asia millennia ago).
The biggest problem with immigrants is that it's so incredibly difficult to become a citizen of this country unless you already work for a major company. If we just simply made it easier to become a citizen, or to just live and work here legally (I have numerous friends who want to live in the US and work there, but US law is strict and hard to overcome), the tremendous risks of immigrating would almost completely disappear: families wouldn't have to go into horrendous debt to get into the country and they wouldn't have to risk their lives just to have a chance to work here and make a better life for themselves. A large chunk of human trafficking in the US would vanish overnight (not all of it, mind you).
Follow the Constitution: End Welfare
A way to aide in accomplishing this (immigration problems) would be to end the welfare state. Many people will indeed have a problem with me suggesting this, but the idea that an immigrant can come in here and just mooch off of everyone is as disgusting to me as it is to anyone else...
...But... for some reason... we don't get as mad at the idea of someone who was born in the US doing this...
This is obviously hypocritical and illogical. If we get upset at the idea of a foreigner coming here to live off of welfare, then we must equally get upset at the idea of a citizen doing the same (to learn more about welfare, check out my "Evan's Easy Economics").After all, what's the difference between helping an American out if they're in between jobs and helping a foreigner out while they're in between jobs?... race?
Nowhere in the Constitution of these United States is the right to welfare defended, nor is the power to create welfare delegated to the federal government. It is, at best, a state's issue.
Follow the Constitution: End the War on Drugs
Before I begin - I DO NOT CONDONE THE USE OF DRUGS!!
Ending the war on drugs would almost immediately end the problems associated with drug use. The major problem with drugs is not that people get high, it's that they become addicted to the substance and, due to their high price and stigmatized nature, often have to resort to illegal activity to pay for it.
But marijuana and many other drug-plants are actually weeds that grow at such heinous rates that, if legalized, the supply would skyrocket - thus making prices decrease. Also, by making it legal to use and to sell would reduce the cost: how much extra work has to be put forth in hiding the activities involved with cultivation and sale?
With a sharp decrease in price, the number of illegal acts needed to pay for a "habit" would also be reduced. With a reduction in stigma attached to drug use, people could quit hiding their addictions and would likely be more forthcoming in asking for help.
There is no authority given to the federal government to authorize and engage in a war against drugs. The Congress does not have the authority to legislate on such subjects: it's a state issue. States would most likely make drugs illegal, but perhaps they wouldn't. And if they didn't then the issue would be up to the free market - If a company didn't want their employees using drugs, they would initiate checks against it (such as the current drug tests people undertake).
But, heck, who knows (have there been any studies on this?), if people could openly and cheaply pay for the addiction and freely administer the drugs, perhaps they wouldn't become so edgy and would still be able to undertake their work with minimal problems! People are addicted to tobacco, but because they can jump outside every couple of hours and smoke a cigarette they don't have horrible problems on the job. The problems would, at worse, be similar to alcoholic-problems, but surely this would be better than the current problems associated with drugs.
Also, legalizing drugs would cripple gang related violence and international drug cartels by making the product readily available to the thousands of people who could easily grow their own supply. Prices would plummet, and so would the income generated for the crime syndicates.
A further bonus to drug legalization would be better quality of product. There would be a sharp decrease in deaths due to contaminated or impure drugs.
The benefits of drug legalization is dealt with in Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block (linked through amazon.com).
Follow the Constitution: Allow Prostitution
The main problem with prostitution, the oldest profession in history, was that it results in horrible conditions for the woman. If it were legalized, the women could be protected through their pimps or mistresses, or whatever the CEO of a company of "ill-repute" would be called. If it were legal, then the prostitutes could go seek legal aid when dealing with abusive clients, business partners, or managers.
Legalizing prostitution would reduce gang related violence by reducing the income of gang syndicates.
If it were legalized the supply of prostitutes would likely increase, and thus prices would naturally lower. This reduction of prices would reduce incentives to prostitution-related ills; perhaps it might even reduce child prostitution.
The issues of legalizing prostitution is dealt with very well in Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable. I highly recommend it, it is easy to read, humorous, and logical (a link to amazon.com is provided). The issue of how prostitution is currently dealt with is shown with Sudhir Venkatesh's works Gang Leader for a Day and Off the Books (both are linked through amazon)
No where in the Constitution is the power to outlaw prostitution granted. It is, at best, a state issue.
Follow the Constitution: End Minimum Wage, and Child Labor Laws
Now, this is the section where I'm going to get yelled at the most! But hear me out!
If we end child labor laws then runaways, castaways, and abandoned children will be able to work in legitimate industries instead of only having the options of prostitution, drug trafficking, or other illegal activity (indeed, with child labor laws, any job a youth takes is illegal). Most children finding themselves in a dire situation would be better off getting a real job and trying to earn a living - indeed, many children in foreign countries readily admit that their choice is either working in a sweat shop or working as a prostitute (here's the story of Wendy Diaz)
I know that not everyone is going to hop on board with the entire "end child labor laws" thing, but the reason that child labor was ended in the US had nothing at all to do with the labor laws. The labor laws were mostly passed at the behest of women's labor unions who didn't appreciate the competition of low-wage labor provided by children. If you would like to learn more about it, instead of vilifying me in the comment section (I'm still trying to figure out how to let the comments just appear without me having to agree to them... until then I promise to post any comments posted to this article), you can read an article by Jeffrey Tucker, or you can read more in my "Evan's Easy Economics". Child labor ended because the increased capital (machines and other production increasing equipment) led to a reduced need for labor. This is why, when you think of child labor in the US, you think of big machines - the big machines were needed to slowly push children out of the work place.
Minimum wage laws also have an unintended consequence on the market. If a child, an immigrant laborer, or anyone in general just isn't productive enough to earn a wage above the completely arbitrarily decided minimum wage, then they won't have a job for very long (if they can even get a job).
For example, if for whatever reason I can only produce about $10 worth of oranges for my company each hour, and it cost them $5 in raw materials and other costs to grow and harvest the oranges, then I can only hope to make at most $5 an hour. If the minimum wage law is $7, then the company is not going to hire me - who wants to lose money on labor?
But, if I'm willing to work for $3 an hour, and the company is allowed to hire me at $3/hour, then I can work. It might not be a wonderful standard of living by comparison to other workers, but at least I'll have an income!
To bring my argument back to the Constitution, there is no authority anywhere in the Supreme Law of the Land to initiate a federal minimum wage. States can do so, but not the federal government.
This would provide a wonderful alternative to child prostitution and other horrible jobs.
I hope, at the very least, I've given you something to think about. I'm sure not many readers will agree with what I've written, and some will absolutely detest what I've written (once again, I promise to post any pertinent comments that people write. Does anyone know how to allow comments to be posted without me needing to approve?)
These proposed solutions will not necessarily completely end the problems, but I have full confidence that, if initiated, they would at least reduce the problems.
(Please keep the angry comments civil at the very least!!!)