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CJS4001-STD-1213: 12/13 Independent Study

Victimless crimes: rightly illegal?


Benjamin Salmon, 3rd Year Police & Criminal Justice Student No. 0928 6046

Supervisor: Steve Curtis 19th April 2013

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I wanted to research the world but Steve Curtis suggested a more concise topic to be more appropriate.

I am particularly grateful to Shelby Allan for her endlessly patient proof-reading, to Kai Salmon & Duncan Ambrose for their support in understanding rudimentary philosophy and finally to Kevin Morrissey who was unafraid to tell me when my points just didnt make sense.

Additional thanks to the entirety of the staff at Northamptonshire University who made my University experience as positive as it has been.

Declaration of Authorship

This assessment is my own work. It contains no unreferenced verbatim extracts from the works of others and it has not (either in whole or in part), been submitted towards the award of any other qualification either at University of Northampton or elsewhere.

Name: Benjamin Salmon

Date: 18/04/2013

Contents Page No. Chapter 1: Literature Review & Methodology Chapter 2: What is victimless crime? Chapter 3: What is victimisation? Chapter 4.1: Should drug usage be legalised? Chapter 4.2: Should prostitution be legalised? Chapter 5.1: Could drug usage be legalised? Chapter 5.2: Could prostitution be legalised? Chapter 6: Cultural Precedents in Historical Victimless Crime Chapter 7: Conclusion & Recommendations Chapter 8: Bibliography

Chapter 1: Literature Review & Methodology

The study is a critical review of victimless crime in the UK. The research is based on the following concept of victimless crime:

Victimless crime is an illegal act that involves consenting adults and lacks a complaining participant Schur (1965, p. 171).

Bedau and Schur (1974) considered four main examples of victimless crime. These were: prostitution, drug possession, abortion and homosexuality. Some of these topics are sensitive in nature and, although empirical research methods such as structured interviews or questionnaires could gather valuable data, there are practical concerns due to the criminal nature of drug possession and prostitution. For these reasons this study is library based in nature. However, it does compensate for a lack of first-hand data by drawing from data gathered by other studies.

Schur suggested that victimless crime is a by-product of the state intervening in social norms (Bedau and Schur, 1974). The theory proposes that legislation adapts to respond to the norms of society at the
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time. For example, although it may be argued that few people were hurt by homosexuality, the state supported views that it was immoral and this resulted in homosexual acts being prohibited. It can be immediately observed that, to an extent, Schurs writing is out of date as homosexuality and abortion are no longer illegal. However, this can be seen as a proven strength of the theory since social change has occurred which advocates its validity as a theory. It may be that the two offences remaining, i.e. soliciting for prostitution and the supply of controlled substances, are otherwise prohibited for reasons other than the ones discussed. This would show that Schurs research was once extremely valid but that his examples, due to predicted social change, are now out of date.

A critical examination shows that his work can be criticised from two perspectives. Firstly, the sociologist Bedau questions the basis on which Schur can say there is no injured party:

The hurt or injury can be in the form of a physical injury, mental anguish, or exploitation and degradation of a person Bedau and Schur (1974, p.62).

Bedau argues that whilst the act of prostitution may be made consensually, without pressure from pimps, the very act itself degrades
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the person committing the act of prostitution, and in this sense they are a victim. Bedau therefore draws on the practical implications of trying to legalise victimless crime without first defining victimisation (Bedau and Schur, 1974).

The second criticism lies in the reliability of the research. The theories have come under criticism from the feminist Kruttschnitt (1984) who, while agreeing with the overall assessment of the extent of female labelling, disagreed that women who commit crime are more likely to be labelled as deviant than men who had been prosecuted for the same crime contradict this, which leads to reliability concerns for the research. The purpose of this study is to research the victimless crimes that have not been legalised and to consider the arguments for such legalisation. The evidence needs to be considered for both its practical and moral ramifications.

It is unreasonable to evaluate a moral argument along the same guidelines that you would use to critique an economic policy. The method, therefore, will vary accordingly to ensure that evidence is critiqued appropriately.

Evaluating ethics

Firstly, any proposed argument should be judged on clarity. This means that it must be clear and not misleading. An example could be the statement murder is wrong. There are no guidelines to what is actually meant by murder in this statement. Would this include an abortion or a soldier killing in war? This study endeavours to improve clarity by using precise definitions whenever possible.

Additionally, when comparing multiple arguments in perspective to each other, it is important to consider coherence. Do the theories and statements clash? Take for example the two statements to kill is always wrong and convicted murderers should be executed. Clearly the first statement outlaws the second despite them both stating that murder is wrong.

Finally, any principle should be judged on comprehensiveness. How much does the theory explain? Does it improve general understanding or is it a specific explanation?

Evaluating Practicalities

Whilst clarity, coherence and comprehensiveness are important when considering more practical concerns, they are not prioritised. The practical concerns include economic arguments to consider the feasibility of
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utilising resources differently. Accordingly, it requires a more quantitative approach as the evaluation of resource, without data, can be only superficial.

Data are raw facts or statistics which can be utilised to form evidence in order to defend or form conclusions. Evidence is a required product of analysis to support arguments in debate. The information rarely speaks for itself. Finally, information is a neutral term to demonstrate knowledge that can be used to form evidence; this is not to say that the information itself is unbiased, only that information by itself is not evidence without evaluation to form an argument or point. This study looks to draw two types of conclusions from data. Firstly, that there is a correlation/negative correlation between things. This means that there is a measurable similarity between two or more things. For example, there might be an increase in both ice-cream sales and temperature. It might be proposed that the hot temperature boosts sales. However, this does not necessarily mean a causal relationship as it is entirely possible for a set of results to be unaffected by another occurrence, despite similar looking trends on graphs. It is important therefore to consider whether there is a statistically significant link which would indicate that the result is unlikely to have occurred by chance.

When considering the conclusions of other researchers it is important to look for reliability and validity. Reliability suggests that the test could be repeated and would get the same results. Validity means that the test is related to the topic and that the data produced is therefore valid.

This study draws from many sources, some qualitative others quantitative. Regrettably, while some bias is likely to be encountered with research looking to support certain schools of thinking, these considerations will be evaluated at that stage in the chapter in question.

Additionally, the majority of data used to support conclusions in this study are provided by the Home Office. Whilst the integrity of such statistics is likely to be high, there are weaknesses with such data. As data is published over considerable time, some data for recent years is not currently available. To best compare trends, this study focuses on a period between 2004 and 2009 as equivalent data is available for this period.

References Bedau, H., Schur, E. (1974) Victimless Crimes: Two sides of controversy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

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Kruttschnitt, C. (1984) Labelling Women Deviant: Gender Stigma, and Social control. Contemporary Sociology. 13(5), 596. Schur, E. (1965) Crimes without victims: deviant behaviour and public policy: Abortion, homosexuality, drug addiction. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Chapter 2: What is victimless crime?

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In the UK there is an evident link between crime and deviance. A crime is a violation of legislature while deviance is a violation of values and culture. Whilst the first is often associated with the second, there are clear examples of offences that are culturally accepted. Take, for example, the offence of quitting, i.e. leaving a motor vehicle unattended with the engine running, as defined by Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act (1988). Nobody fined for quitting would be regarded by society as a deviant, although they could be technically described as a criminal. A rapist, on the other hand, would be considered a deviant as well as a criminal, since this is an offence that society as a whole regards as wrong. Equally, it can be seen that the very process of describing something or someone as deviant can have implications in itself.

Becker (1963) described the origins of deviance as created by society reinforced with the application of labels to people, thus associating them with predefined characteristics and traits already associated with that label. For example, a young man who was labelled as anti-social due to his association with the existing stereotype of an antisocial youth; he might wear tracksuits and frequently hang around outside corner shops. Due to the association with the stereotype of antisocial youth, assumptions might be made that the person also engaged in other deviant behaviour also associated with anti-social behaviour, such as excessive alcohol or drugs consumption.

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The consequences for a recipient, in the aftermath of being given a label, have been studied. Tajfel (1981) suggests that the recipient of a label identifies with that group. This then creates in-groups and outgroups. This stems from cognitive theory that people group by difference and similarities. Tajfels Social Identity Theory explains how in the aftermath of being given a label, the recipient comes to believe it and then justifies the label to themselves and to their peers. They will then identify with that out-group as their in-group, which is one of the reasons for the development and spread of gang culture. In turn, this leads to the largest example of in-groups and out-groups in criminal justice, that of the criminal as not only an out-group, but also an in-group.

Kelling & Wilson (1982) examined the implications of having police officers on designated foot patrol compared with those in mobile patrol cars. Whilst, in reality, having a detrimental effect on crime statistics, the implementation of widespread foot-patrolling officers has brought the public fear of crime down. However, Kelling & Wilson (1982) also identify that this fear, on the whole, was not of violent offenders, or even of criminals generally, but rather of the disreputable, i.e. the socially deviant, unpredictable and anti-social. The neighbourhood police officer was not enforcing the law; rather he was enforcing the neighbourhood rules by removing the anti-social from the streets. But those who suffer under such a policy are those who legitimately and legally deviate from
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societys rules, the foreign and the different. Kelling & Wilson (1982) therefore asked: How do we ensure, in short, that the police do not become the agents of neighbourhood bigotry? Is there an argument, however, that the role of the police is precisely to enforce neighbourhood bigotry? Schur (1980) observes that society maintains laws that serve no practical purpose other than to maintain social control over the socially deviant. Critiquing Beckers (1963) labelling theory of deviance, he suggested that society politicised deviant behaviour and, in the process, was creating victimless crime.

Schurs work has been subject to analysis and criticism. However, the focus of this has always been on the conclusions he has drawn and not the evidence he provides. He breaks victimless crime into three key parts:

1. Illegal: means simply an action prohibited by existing legislation. 2. Consent: referring to informed agreement that the participants understand the consequences and participate anyway, of their own free will. 3. Lacks a complainant: there is no-one involved or present who feels aggrieved by the circumstances and therefore nobody would be likely to complain.

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Schur highlighted four primary offences which he suggested were controlled due only to their violation of social norms and not for any reason benefitting society. These were: prostitution, drug addiction, abortion and homosexuality. In modern society it should be observed that two of these offences have now been legalised, possibly in line with the decline of the church as an institution [see Chapter 8].

With the benefit of time, the validity of Schurs arguments seem strengthened, as with the rise of social acceptance of abortion and homosexuality. They were eventually legalised, thus highlighting the link between criminal behaviour and social castigation of that behaviour. However, as Bedau (1974) highlighted: can there be crimes which are victimless without defining victimisation? At the time, this was a major weakness as in 1974 little study had been conducted in the field of Victimology. However, evaluation in the second decade of the 21 st century has the benefit that Schurs suggestions can be critiqued with new data and fresh evidence.

References Becker, H. (1963) Outsiders, Studies in Sociology of Deviance. New York: Free Press Bedau, H., Schur, E. (1974) Victimless crimes: Two sides of controversy. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
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Tajfel, H. (1981) Human Groups & Social Categories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kelling, G. & Wilson, J. (1982) Broken Windows Atlantic magazine. Vol. 249, pp. 29-38.

Chapter 3: What is victimisation?

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Bedau (Bedau and Schur, 1974) asked the question: can victimless crimes be evaluated without clarity on what victimisation is? More to the point, does the absence of such criteria suggest that the act should not be criminalised?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a victim to be:

a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment (Oxford Dictionary, 2013)

Does to victimise merely mean, to create a victim? Is there a distinction between the two?

The term the Golden Rule refers to the philosophical concept that people should act towards others as they would wish to be treated themselves (Bruton, 2004). Bruton remarks that this rule is embedded in many cultures, with variations of it contained in most holy texts. Similarities can be drawn between the absolute nature of the Golden Rule and Absolute Human Rights which every human unconditionally has (Human Rights Act 1998). Namely, you do not have to qualify for these rights; it should be how everyone is treated. The core of victimisation arguably attacks that very sovereignty of all humans to live peacefully without fear of harm.
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The strength of the Golden Rule is in its coherence with many other schools of ethics and philosophy. Take for example, hedonist or utilitarianism schools of ethics which suggest that we are governed by pleasure and pain. It stands to reason that we would like to not be pained but to gain pleasure; therefore we wouldnt want anyone else to cause us pain. This highlights the importance of empathy in understanding ethical arguments. The historical prevalence of the Golden Rule in one form or another is difficult to contest, with one of the earliest versions found in the Ten Commandments (Bruton, 2004).

Victimisation can often include physical harm; however, the crux of victimisation is that it changes the dynamics of the relationship between the victim and the victimiser McGlynn et al. (2012). McGlynn et al. suggests that this is the key to restorative justice methods such as offender-victim mediation. Here, by confronting the offender, the victim can be empowered to break the bonds that the victimisation created.

A general summary of victimisation incorporating these themes would be: a negative distortion of the relationship between two people in violation of the absolute human rights of one or other of the parties to the relationship. It can be argued that if the Golden Rule governs all human interaction then any victimisation is a distortion of this balance of power.
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A victim could be anyone who is harmed in some way, so it is possible to be the victim of an accident. However, victimisation is more specific. Crucially there has to be some kind of relationship between the victimiser and victim. In the context of victimless crimes, is it enough for there to be a victim present? Or does there have to be some form of victimisation?

A common argument against criminalising drug usage is that there are many other consumables that are not illegal yet which have severe ramifications for a persons health: smoking and alcohol being obvious examples (Moore and Measham, 2011). The clear lack of continuity threatens any suggestion that legislation is rational. The list of ways a person could harm themselves is endless, from food to heat. It could be suggested, cynically, that the state is quite happy to let people kill themselves with tax revenue raising vices, although there are obviously impacts on NHS costs. However, it is unusual for the state to condone victimisation; a culture of mutual respect is encouraged even in those as young as primary school age.

Do victimless crimes victimise people? Of the four that Schur (Schur and Bedau, 1971) proposed, the two that have been since legalised do not.
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Abortion harms the ftus, but while there is a victim, there is no relationship of victimisation; or at least not superficially. It is possible that there is a relationship between the mother and the father, or between the mother and future grandparent, who coerces the mother to receive the abortion. Conversely, however, it can be argued that the provision of safe abortions is actually an empowerment of women as it prevents them from being forced out of the workplace inopportunely in their career.

Likewise, homosexuality had aspects of cultural victimisation, but that was mainly the relationship between the state or society and the offender. The actual acts of homosexually-motivated offences didnt distort the sacred presence of civility and respect between people. Is it unsurprising that it was inevitably legalised?

In contrast, however, prostitution arguably does centre on a relationship, albeit a sexual one. It has been suggested by feminist theorists that the very nature of sex-work degrades women: Prostitution is degrading because the relation between the prostitute and the client is completely impersonal. The client does not even perceive, let alone treat the prostitute as the person she is; he has no interest, no time for any of her personal characteristics, but

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relates to her merely as a source of sexual satisfaction, nothing more than a sex object. Primoratz (1993, p.172)

This is to say, if the argument summarised by Primoratz is correct, the basis of the Golden Rule, i.e. the sovereignty of human life, is violated by prostitution.

Finally, does drug usage distort human relationships? The relationship between the drug and the user certainly has similarities with human victimisation, such as harm done and dependence. However, without personifying chemical substances, is there a relationship of degrading human value? Watter (2002) describes the prolonged effect of drugs as degrading, de-humanising and soul-destroying. Watter does also highlight a commonly made argument that drugs de-humanise people in a way that alcohol and cigarettes are less prone to do.

It is worthy of note that, of the four examples, the two most damaging to human stability are the ones that are still illegal. By contrast, the other two, which have minimal effect, have been legalised. This provides a strong precedent to suggest that creating a victim is not enough to cause
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something to be banned. However, offences such as prostitution and drug usage are banned, as they go further and degrade on human dignity.

References Bedau, H., Schur, E. (1974) Victimless crimes: Two sides of controversy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. Bruton, S (2004) Teaching the Golden Rule. Journal of Business Ethics. 49 279-187. Moore, K. and Measham, F. (2011), Impermissible pleasures in UK leisure: exploring UK policy developments in alcohol and illicit drugs, The problem of pleasure: leisure, tourism and crime. 1 (1) 62-76. Primoratz, I. (1993) whats wrong with prostitution? The Royal Institute of Philosophy. 68 (264) 159-182 Oxford Dictionary. (2013) Victim. Available from: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/victim [accessed 18th April 2013]

Chapter 4.1: The argument for legalising controlled drugs and prostitution.
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When investigating the feasibility of legalising currently prohibited services and substances, there are two major questions to ask. Firstly, should victimless crime be legalised, bearing in mind that this is an ethical distinction? Secondly could victimless crime be legalised? This is a question of the feasibility of such a proposal, looking at practical, political and economic factors.

There is some dispute over whether or not drug addicts are, in fact, victims. This is an important distinguishing label as Johnson (1992) acknowledges that any responsible government has a duty to protect its citizens. The government has the power to legislate a prohibition of any substance, including controlled drugs. However, if drug usage victimises citizens [see Chapter 3], does a responsible government then have an obligation to outlaw it?

Different schools of ethics are derived from different moral principles. In evaluating the moral implications of drug consumption, some schools of ethics are more appropriate than others. An ethical evaluation must consider both the happiness derived from drug use, and the associated risks. Feldman (2004) proposes a default hedonist argument to be that:

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The intrinsic value of a life is entirely determined by the intrinsic values of the episodes of pleasure and pain contained in that life; in such a way that one life is intrinsically better than another if and only if the net amount of pleasure in the one is greater than the net amount of pleasure in the other. Feldman (2004, p. 27)

Feldman (2004) expands upon this to suggest that pleasure and pain can be objectively measured according to intensity and duration. This consideration can be applied to drugs in order to determine whether a substance adds value to a life. Taking alcohol, a widely researched and legal intoxicant, as an example, the pleasure gained is the experience of increased confidence and resistance to cold. However, the consumption of excess alcohol can result in a painful experience known as a hangover (Hesse and Tutenges, 2010), and long-term excess use can lead to liver damage and alcoholism (WHO 2011). The existence of a hangover is no secret, so for someone to consensually drink to excess demonstrates a conscious decision to enjoy the immediate pleasures and endure the immediate pains. For someone to drink repeatedly, and to excess, demonstrates an enduring belief that the pleasures will always outweigh the pains. Simplistically, therefore, there is an argument that the value of a persons life has improved with the presence of alcohol in it, because if this were not the case the pains would outweigh the pleasures and the individual would not drink alcohol, or at least not more than once.
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The same argument can be applied to drug consumption. The strength of the argument is that it is adaptable; the argument that pleasure is measurable and can be objectively measured does not claim that any specific occurrence is pleasurable. This allows the argument to take into consideration human variation: after all, what one person may find pleasurable may not be the same for another. However, despite such coherence with other theories, the logical claim, the theory is not without criticism. That the decision to do something repeatedly demonstrates that the pleasure outweighs the pain, is reliant on the presence of free will. Consent can only exist if the decision to act was made freely. In the context of drug consumption the presence of consent is called into question.

The World Health Organisations International Classification of diseases defines dependence syndrome (addiction) as:

A cluster of behavioural, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and that typically include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state. (World Health Organisation 2010).
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If someones life revolves around the partaking of an addictive substance, does the person make a truly voluntary decision to take it each day? The nature of many drugs is that they are addictive (Ghodse 2002). This comprehensive consideration does much to bring any hedonist justification of drugs into dispute, as what may have once been choice becomes forced.

The hedonist argument is still applicable, but now it must compare all the pleasure gained, in a lifetime, to the pain also suffered in the same lifetime. Initially the experience may be deemed worthwhile, but if that experience leads to destitution, health failure and an early death, does the partaking of such a substance continue to receive an ethical mandate?

Take, for example, two individuals, John and Mark. They are at a party and both choose to take cocaine. At the time both men had taken the drug before and chose to do it again. Both got intense happiness and pleasure from the experience for roughly the same length of time. Two weeks after the party John is killed in an unrelated car accident. In contrast, Mark regularly takes cocaine for the next thirty years and in that time he escalates onto crack cocaine and a result suffers from respiratory problems for many years before eventually dying from resulting heart disease. Near the time of death, Mark expresses sincere regret for his
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cocaine addiction and believes that it was not worth it. In these cases, a hedonist explanation would suggest that taking cocaine enriched Johns life but it did not improve Marks. However, the benefit is only measurable at the time of death, which highlights the weakness of hedonist values. After all, it is too late to ban the substance at the time of death. It is logical, though to a certain extent simplistic, to assert that if the pleasures of a particular action outweigh the pains, then it is beneficial; however, the difficulty lies in measuring objectively the impact it would have for that persons lifetime. As policy makers have a responsibility for the community as a whole, hedonist arguments are difficult to implement in practice since a risk assessment and prohibition based on individual circumstance is not feasible. However, it can be observed that there is a precedent of circumstance-based prohibition in the sale of alcohol and cigarettes since children are unable to buy them. Section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 prohibits the sale of tobacco to children. Could this be because it is considered that children are unable to fully understand the implications of making a decision to smoke?

Home Office literature suggests that there are severe cons and pains attributed to drug consumption. The Home Office Drug Strategy 2010 (Home Office 2010) outlines Teresa Mays (Home Secretary) vision as:

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Tackling drugs and addressing alcohol dependence, both of which are key cause of societal harm, including crime, family breakdown and poverty. Together, they cause misery and pain to individuals, destroy families and undermine communities. Such suffering cannot be allowed to go unchecked. Home Office (2010, pp.2)

The Home Secretary, a key policy maker, is not claiming that there is no pleasure to be gained from drug usage; rather that the vision is very much that the pain (crime, family breakdown and poverty) outweighs the pleasure. It is important to note that the emphasis of such a vision is on the community as a whole. Note also the usage of the term societal harm; this suggests that the evaluation of pros to cons is determined as the overall impact on society as a whole. While hedonism recognises such concepts, it focuses primarily on the individual. Consider the general definition proposed by Feldman (2002): this definition revolves around one life and not life as a collective. It is, therefore, appropriate to compare a hedonist view of drug usage to that of utilitarianism.

It is apt to consider a utilitarian perspective when considering a risk assessment of pleasure to pain, but in a community context. A utilitarian perspective of ethics also uses the conceptual comparison of pleasure and
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pain; however, it compares them for community and not individual interest, Mills (1789). This makes the ethical argument considerably more credible in context of community values. Mills (1789) defines community interest as a:

Fictitious

body

composed

of

the

individual

persons

who

are

considered as constituting as it were its members. The interest of the community then is, what? The sum of the interests of the several members who compose it Mills (1789, pp.35).

Shaw (1999) notes that utilitarianism also acknowledges that the sources of human happiness (pleasure) are both variable and culturally and individually different. He goes on to suggest that the consequence of this is that a varying moral standard can exist; the judge is society itself.

If society is the arbitrator in utilitarian ethics, how do societys decisions become practice? The principle of parliamentary democracy supports the removal of sovereignty from the individual; it is then granted conditionally to an elected representative. In this case, the decision of an elected policy maker is, in a legal and ethical sense, law. However, the very act of committing crime demonstrates disagreement with that policy. If society as a whole disagrees, the politician loses his/her ethical

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mandate and, usually soon after, their legal one, when they are voted out of office.

References Feldman, F. (2004) Pleasure and the good life, Oxford: Oxford University Press Ghodse, H. (2010) Drugs and Addictive Behaviour, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hesse, M. Tutenges, S. (2010) Predictors of hangover during a week of heavy drinking on holiday. Addiction 105 (3) 476-478. Home Office (2010) Drug Strategy 2010 reducing demand restricting supply, building recovery: supporting people to live a drug free life. London: Crown. Johnson, N. (1992) Political Consequences of PR: the British idea of responsible government. London: Centre of Policy Studies Mill, J. (1962) Utilitarianism. Glasgow: William Collins sons and co ltd. Shaw, W. (1999) Contemporary ethics, taking account of utilitarianism, Oxford: Blackwell publishers ltd. World Health Organisation. (1992). ICD-10 Classifications of Mental and Behavioural Disorder: Clinical Descriptions and Diagnostic Guidelines. Geneva: World Health Organisation.

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Chapter 4.2: Should prostitution be legalised?

There are similarities between prostitution and drug consumption: either prohibited or controlled activities, both are, arguably, victimless crimes and both provide a certain amount of pleasure. An ethical debate, however, must consider the distinguishing differences between the two. While considerable effort goes into stopping the supply of drugs, dealing is seen as much more serious, vast resources are spent in rehabilitating the drug-users, i.e. the focus is on the consumer rather than the provider. Consider prostitution, however. The majority of initiatives to combat sex-working rehabilitate the sex-worker not the client. While there has been a growing movement to educate the Johns (the sex-workers clients) the majority of rehabilitative schemes still target the supplier (Gentile, 2009). It is therefore apt to consider the service ethically from perspective of the provider rather than the consumer. It can also be noted that the impact of legalisation would impact the prostitute herself/himself much more than it would the client.

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The two arguments against prostitution can be usually summarised as; prostitution encourages considerable abuse to sex-workers themselves and prostitution is immoral.

It is a sad fact that sex slavery still exists in the 21st century. Between April 2009 and December 2010, 540 persons who had been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation were detected (United Nations, 2012). A prostitute is defined as:

a person who, on at least one occasion and whether or not compelled to do so, offers or provides sexual services to another person in return for payment or a promise of payment to A or a third person; "prostitution" is to be interpreted accordingly. (Sexual Offences Act 2003)

While some prostitutes are pimped and suffer severe abuses as a consequence of their line of work, it should be clear that this is not the motive behind arguments in favour of legalising the work. The implications of a persons lifestyle are discussed in Chapter 5.2. However, is there a sound moral concern for the act of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment?

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Historically, morality was the prerogative of the Christian Church, at least in England. The Bible does discuss prostitution, consider:

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, [when you're saved] whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body Corinthians, (1973, 6:18-20).

Specifically the reference to being bought clarifies that providing a sexual service for payment is, according the bible morally wrong. The extent that the bible influences current definitions of morality in the 21 st century can be argued. However, if morality is simply what is right or wrong, can an act become wrong over time or is what is changing simply the values acceptable at the time?

From a non-religious context, what is morally wrong about prostitution? There is an argument that selling yourself is degrading (Primoratz, 1993). However, there is little distinction between selling your body as an actor and selling your body as a prostitute. Equally, whilst
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prostitution has a certain intimacy to it, since the prostitute is allowing a person access to his/her most private parts of the body, other industries have very sensitive requirements too. Take, for example, a doctor, who in some cases will be required to examine the genitalia of a patient. This is not, of course, considered socially wrong.

A convincing distinction is that it is not the exposure of the genitalia itself that has meaning. Rather, it is the meaning behind the act of sexual intercourse itself that has significance. Therefore, by that explanation, when a person hires a prostitute, he is not renting the use of her body, but rather is buying that significance gained via intercourse. This significance can vary widely since different meanings, ranging from love to dominance, have been associated with sexual intercourse.

A major criticism of the significance argument is the culture of promiscuity in the UK. It is difficult to suggest meaning is present in intercourse resulting from a one night stand. Evidently, the meaning associated with intercourse is up to the individuals involved; therefore, if the prostitute chooses to consider her intercourse as simply a meaningless usage of her body, then there is no distinction between this usage of her body and that of an actor or sportswoman. However, it can be observed that Johns have been known to practise, aggressive sexual practices. Whether the clients emotional input is enough to challenge the
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prostitutes own emotional experience is a distinction that the prostitute can only make for themselves.

References Corinthians (1973), Holy Bible: New International Version. Michigan: Zondervan Bible Publishers. Gentile, A. (2009) Teaching old Johns no new tricks. American City & County. 124 (11), 18-18 Sexual Offences Act 2003. London: HMSO United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2012) Country Profiles: Europe and Central Asia. New York: United Nations Publications.

Chapter 5.1: Could Controlled Drugs be legalised?

Recreational drug use is as old as humanity, and has not been stopped by the most draconian laws Wilson, (2009, p.32).

The proposal is a simple one: drug usage is unpreventable. It is therefore inappropriate to spent resources in futility.

This is a simplistic suggestion as it doesnt take into account that those resources may be having a considerable impact upon drug
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consumption. Just because something cannot be removed entirely doesnt mean it is pointless to combat it in part. In order to suggest that the resources are being spent badly, it should be evidenced that the money is not having a significant impact. Value for money can be defined as:

A utility derived from every purchase or every sum of money spent. Value for money is based not only on the minimum purchase price (economy) but also on the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the purchase Business Dictionary (2012, line 10).

It is not enough, therefore, for a marginal impact to be made, but rather the impact must be proportionate to the sum of the resources expended.

This study therefore considers the following hypothesis: expenditure from the Home Office in enforcing the illegality of controlled drugs produces a reduction in drug usage that can be considered to be achieving value for money.

Measurements of progress:

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Re-Offending statistics: if enforcing the illegality of drugs is effective, it would be marked by a low amount of re-offending. This would suggest that the process of criminalising someone for offending discourages re-offending.

An increase in street value: if supply decreases this is usually accompanied by a sharp increase in street value (Degenhardt, 2005).

Seizures of drugs proportionately significant to the estimated amount of illegal drugs estimated to be imported or produced in the UK.

The 2009 Home Office Budget spent 322.8 million on a cutting drug crime strategy (Home Office, 2011). That year the re-offending rate for drug-related offences stood at 54.7% with an average number of reoffences at 2.1. A plausible explanation for this is that a considerable number of crimes are not reported: this is described as the dark figure of crime (Hammersley, 2011). Once an offender has been arrested and they have surrendered DNA and fingerprints, they are more likely to be caught again, if they recommit, as they are known to police already. In summary, an offender is more likely to be caught again, once he has been caught initially. As re-offending statistics are a measure of offenders being caught repeatedly, it is not surprising that re-offending statistics are so high.
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Does the dark figure of crime represent enough of a distortion to threaten the validity of re-offending statistics? It is nearly impossible to counteract the absence of all data, clearly the only option is to scrutinise data and work to maintain as high a validity of research as possible.

Re-offending rates have decreased since 2004 (Home Office, 2011). This suggests that, if budgetary expenditure remains constant, then efficiency is increasing. However, the number of offenders has increased, between 2004 and 2009, from 20,652 to 53,109 or by over 150% (Home Office, 2011). To compare, the population of the UK increased from 59.6 million, in 2004, to 61.595 million in 2009 (National Statistics, 2010). If rates remained constant, an increase of drug users of 2.5% would be expected. Evidently an increase in population is not a valid explanation for such an increase in offences.

Heroin and cocaine is prioritised by the UK Government as the greatest risk (TDPF, 2009). During the 2005-2008 periods European street prices of heroin inflated, in correlation with the wholesale price in Turkey (United Nations 2010). The United Nations World Drug Report suggests that Turkey was a major supplier of heroin to continental Europe, therefore when seizures in Turkey dramatically increased, supply was reduced. The UK, however, differed from the rest of the continental Europe in that
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heroin prices maintained a stable price. This was believed to be the result of additional trafficking routes into the UK (United Nations 2010).

When compared with seizure statistics, it can be observed that heroin seizures increased from 1087 kg of heroin seized in 2006, to 1681 kg in 2008 (United Nations, 2010), or an increase of 54%. Such a considerable increase in seizures without a significant increase in street price suggests that supply was not unduly affected. This is supported by the No. 10 Strategy Unit Drugs Project (2003) which predicts that, despite initiatives, supply of heroin and cocaine cannot be realistically stopped:

Over the past 10-15 years, despite interventions at every point in the supply chain, cocaine and heroin consumption has been rising, prices falling and drugs have continued to reach users. Government interventions against the drug business are a cost of business, rather than a substantive threat to the industry's viability. Prime Ministers Strategy Unit (2003, p.94).

Additionally, cocaine prices have also maintained a steady price with very little variation between wholesale prices per gram from 2002 to 2008 (United Nations, 2010). The same report does suggest more variation in street prices, which fell steadily from 2002 to 2005, with a sharp increase
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for 2006. However, post 2006 prices have fallen again, reaching a total reduction in price in 2008 compared to 2002.

In summary, heroin and cocaine prices have fallen or stayed the same, suggesting no overall reduction in supply. In conjunction with increased seizures during the same period, the likely explanation is that overall supply into the UK has increased so much that a sharp increase in seizures doesnt proportionally damage overall supply.

In the light of such evidence, the only justification for maintaining current enforcement policies for misuse of drugs can be that without these measures there would be a drastic increase in offences committed. Current statistics do not support a claim that current anti-drug strategy is effective. To argue against a de-criminalisation of drugs, it would have to be shown that the rate of consumption would be increased so much that current statistics are actually preferable.

The only way that such a scenario can be predicted is to examine the precedent of another country which has done exactly that. However, care should be emphasised to maintain validity as much as possible by using a precedent with similar cultural circumstances.

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In 1997 internal opinion polls rated drug use as Portugals biggest national social problem. Twelve years after personal use was decriminalised, drug use has fallen to the countrys 13th biggest problem by the same polls (The Economist, 2013). The emphasis was on decriminalising drug use but not on legalising it. The focus was still upon helping people overcome addiction, but by using soft sanctions such as rehabilitation rather than arresting users for the personal use of drugs. The experiment was a resounding success, with Portuguese drug rates reduced to one of the lowest in Europe (Greenwald, 2009). According to the Institute of Drugs and Drug Addiction of Portugal, the number of individuals positively tested has decreased from 318 in 2000 to 216 in 2006.

It can be observed that 0.9% of Portugals population used cocaine, compared to a 6.1% in the UK from 2001 to 2005 (Greenwald, 2009). It should be noted that at this time the UK had the highest rate of cocaine use in Europe.

Analysis of Portuguese spending allows a comparison to be drawn: the 2008 Prisons General Directorate year-end expenditure report amounted to 208,271,234, and of this 50,526,601 was calculated to be directly related to drug-related crime (Institute for Drugs and Addiction, 2009).
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In 2008, 108 rehabilitative projects received funding of 987,367,556. In return, the National Report concludes that the number of problematic drug users in Portugal has shown a decline, and this is especially the case for injecting drug users from 2000-2005 (Institute for Drugs and Addiction, 2009). In the UK the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) oversees rehabilitative measures at a strategic level, and was allocated 108,392,585 to provide rehabilitative measures to prisoners for 2012 (Department of Health, 2013).

UK policy makers can learn from their European cousins and current research into emulating Portuguese drug policy should be expanded upon with real consideration to how it could be implemented in the UK. However, there have been political complications, following advisement to legalise cannabis Head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Professor David Nutt was sacked (BBC, 2009). Are politicians now experts on medical implications of drugs? Should politicians be firing experts due to not liking their recommendations? In defence of Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister at the time, such a decision demonstrates accountability to societal norms, which are arguably more important in legislative decisions than ethics, economics or scientific reason.

References
42

Anon (2013) Towards a ceasefire; winding down the war on drugs. The Economist, 406 (8824) 57-57. BBC, (2009) Cannabis row drugs advisor sacked [online]. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8334774.stm. [Accessed date: 17/04/2013]. Business Dictionary. (2013) Value for Money [online]. Available from: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/value-for-money-VFM.html [Accessed date: 17/04/2013]. Degenhardt, L. and Day, C. et. al. (2005) The impact of a reduction in drug supply on demand for and compliance with treatment for drug dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependance. 79 (2), 129-135. Department of Health (2011) Funding for 2011/12 substance misuse services in prisons. London: Crown Greenwald, G. (2009). Drug decriminalization in Portugal. Washington: Cato Institute. Hammersley, R. (2011) Pathways through drugs and crime: desistance, trauma and resilience. Journal of Criminal Justice, 39 (3), 268-272. Home Office. (2011) Proven Re-offending statistics quarterly bulletin. London: The Stationery Office. Institution on Drugs and Drugs Addiction (2009) PORTUGAL New development, trends and in-depth information on selected issues. Lisbon: IDT. Office for National Statistics (2010) 2009 Census. London: Crown

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Prime Ministers Strategy Unit (2003) No 10 Strategy Unit Drugs Project: Phase 1 Report: Understanding the Issues. London: Crown. Transform Drug Policy Foundation (2009) A comparison of the costeffectiveness of prohibition and regulation of drugs. Bristol: Transform Drug Policy Foundation. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2010) World Drug Report 2010. New York: United Nations Publications. Wilson, C. (2009) Legalise Drugs. New Scientist, 203 (2725) 32-33.

Chapter 5.2: Could prostitution be legalised?

Currently, it is not an offence to pay for sexual services in the UK. However, it is an offence to solicit sexual services, curb crawl, own or run a brothel, or be involved in pimping in any other way (Sexual Offences Act 2003). It is however legal to arrange privately to meet with someone whom you plan to engage in intercourse for financial reward.

It was suggested that demand for sex workers would always ensure that supply exists; therefore the focus should be on how to protect those involved in the industry (Gray, 2007).
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The Dutch Government legalised prostitution in 2000, the theory being to bring security to sex workers by providing work permits, health checks and a state funded union (Bindel, 2013). However, the attempts to regulate the industry seem to have failed, with more trafficking, money laundering and other hallmarks of organised crime (Siegel, 2009). In Chapter 4, this study proposes that legalising sex-work should be done with full respect to current consent legislation. Rape of a prostitute is as much an offence as rape of anyone else. Siegel (2009), however, suggests that when sex-working was legalised in the Netherlands, it increased opportunities for organised crime groups to traffic young women for the sex trade. Clearly, there is a difference between, as Siegel puts it, voluntary prostitution and human trafficking.

Demographically, of the approximately 25,000 sex-workers in Amsterdam; 20% worked in window prostitution, 25% in sex clubs, 49% in escort and home prostitution and 1% in street prostitution (Gemeente, 2006). In comparison, the United Kingdom hosts an estimated 80,000 prostitutes. Of all prostitutes in the UK, 28% are estimated to work in street prostitution, while the other 72% work in indoor establishments as escorts (Church, 2001). There is evidence that street-based prostitution is significantly more dangerous, Church et. al. (2001) suggested that 81%
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of street-based sex workers had experienced violence from clients, while only 48% of indoor-based workers had experienced violence. Additionally, rates of heroin usage for street sex-workers have been reported to be much higher than equivalent indoor-based sex workers (Home Office, 2004).

While the legalisation of sex-work in Amsterdam had severe repercussions, the equally severe cut in street prostitution is a strong argument for the damage limitation effects of legalising sex-work.

Home Office research highlighted the difficulty in statistically evaluating the extent of prostitution. Home Office policy focused on reducing demand, which makes prostitution less lucrative (Home Office, 2009). The report emphasised the difficulty in measuring a reduction of demand as there was no way to ensure that sex-working was not displaced rather than prevented. The precedent in Sweden, where demand was aggressively criminalised, did seem to create a reduction in demand; however it coincided with a decrease of working conditions and transference from street prostitution to indoor sex-working (Home Office, 2009).

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Can sex-work be stopped? On an individual basis there is evidence that sex-workers can be rehabilitated (Home Office 2004). However, can the trade be removed entirely? If it mysteriously vanished overnight, would that be desirable? From December 2012 to February 2013 there has been an increase of 70,000 unemployed persons in the UK (National Statistics, 2013). If approximately 80,000 prostitutes couldnt support themselves and were joining the job market, would this be beneficial? Without suggesting that the state should expect part of the workforce to be reliant on sex-work for subsistence, zero tolerance policing of sex-work is arguably not the answer. Accordingly, policy should focus on damage limitation, with a view to making prostitution as safe as possible for the duration of the period when the prostitute is sex-working.

Three risks frequently reported for sex-workers are: health based, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDs, and spread via shared needles and sexual intercourse; drug risk, severe reported health risks stemming from crack cocaine and heroin; and assault, from both pimps and clients.

The distinction between street-working and indoor escorting has already been emphasised. If someone is going to be sex-working, it is much better for them to be off the streets since, as observed, the risks of class A drugs and assault are considerably reduced when a sex-worker is off
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the streets. The Netherlands strategy of legalising the trade, to the point of encouraging with government funding, did reduce street working to a very low 1% (Gemeente, 2006). However, this was accompanied by deterioration in working conditions, trafficking and an increased involvement of organised crime groups (Siegel, 2009). The Swedish zero tolerance of demand drove sex-working indoors, but by doing so reduced working conditions for indoor sex-workers (Home Office, 2009). Is it likely that more aggressive Johns tend to frequent the streets by preference? Did the Swedish zero tolerance drive these violent Johns towards indoor sex-workers?

How can UK policy makers dramatically reduce street-working in favour of temporary indoor sex-working, ideally as a temporary solution before alternative employment was found? Demographically, street sex-workers are often very different to escorts; unsurprisingly homelessness is considerably more likely for street sex-workers (Duff, 2011). Duff also notes that clients are more likely to refuse to wear a condom on the street, which he suggests explains the prevalence of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases on the streets. Additionally, statistics (Duff, 2011) demonstrate that a larger proportion of housed prostitutes, as opposed to homeless ones, were Caucasian, with more ethnic minority prostitutes living on the streets.

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In conclusion, given that prostitution is unlikely ever to disappear, prostitutes need to be supported. Simply criminalising prostitution merely harms relations between community police and sex workers. By legalising it, a massively increased demand may result as sex-tourists flock to the location, as was seen by the Amsterdam precedent. The best policy, therefore, is to de-criminalise prostitution and strive to build with the sexworking population both good relations with and trust in the police. This is actually the policy in the UK as prostitution, where carried out privately and without public solicitation, is legal.

Considerations from Chapter 4 suggest that, from an ethics perspective, people have the right to choose how they value their bodies. Therefore, the balance needs to be to what extent the state intervenes to protect the health of sex workers and their human rights. By criminalising solicitation, street prostitution should be driven indoors, which is good. However, this hasnt happened to the extent that would be desirable. Zero tolerance on public solicitation could replace the lax street policy many police forces employ today. However, this will drive many of the dangerous clients and pimps indoors, as seen in the Swedish precedent. For a zero tolerance policy to be successful, the police must have the prostitutes trust so that any aggressive abuse of legal prostitutes (private ones) is reported. Perhaps these links could be built by PCSOs and other community
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officers, working in conjunction with vice squads, which could focus on zero tolerance.

References:

Bindel, J. (2013) Why even Amsterdam doesnt want legal brothels. London: The Spectator Church, S., Henderson, M., Barnard, M. and Hart, G (2001) Violence by clients towards female prostitutes in different work settings: questionnaire survey. Gender & Society, 17 (6) 923-37 Duff, P. et. al. (2011) Homelessness among a cohort of women in streetbased sex work: the need for safer environmental interventions Gray, J. (2007) Open the debate on safety. Nursing Standard 21 (17) 1-1 Home Office (2004) Paying the price: a consultation paper on prostitution. London: Crown Home Office (2009) Tackling the demand for prostitution a rapid evidence assessment of the published research literature. London: Crown National Statistics (2013) Labour Market Statistics, April 2013. London: Crown. Siegel, D. (2009) Human Trafficking and legalised prostitution in the Netherlands. Temida 12 (1) 5-16

Chapter 6: Cultural Precedents in Historical Victimless Crime


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Schur (1974) stated that victimless crime was a by-product of society politicising deviance. Deviance is a failing to conform to the norms of society. A process begins to emerge; society creates social norms, i.e. rules which are expected to be followed by everyone who is part of that society. When someone fails to abide by those rules, society initially applies soft power, ostracising them from groups and attempting to persuade these people to follow norms. Failure to do so, even when such sanctions have been applied, provokes an escalation from soft to hard power. The individuals already labelled as deviant become branded as criminal. The politicians and policy makers conform to majority opinion, condemning the behaviour, and the police as agents of the law step in to force the rule-breakers to abide by societys norms.

To provide evidence to such a proposal it is important to look at historical precedents. Schur, who stated that victimless crime was derived from politicised deviance, suggested four main occurrences of victimless crime. Two, prostitution and drug possession are still controlled today. Two, however, are no-longer prohibited. What is the difference between abortion and homosexuality, which are now legalised, and drug possession and prostitution?

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A similarity between both homosexuality and abortion is that they are both fiercely opposed by the Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, Church of England groups. Becker (1963) proposed that violation of societys norms created deviance. If the church was a major contributor to societys norms, is it likely that the decline of the churchs influence is, in part, responsible for a change in legislation to legalise abortion and homosexuality?

Globalisation has given people greater ability to travel from their places of birth. This has allowed, in a cultural sense, citizens to pick and choose which norms they wish to adopt and which they would rather ignore. Historically, a person was bound to where they were born and lived. However, with relatively cheap international transport, people can commute for a service. In 1971, the Ulster Pregnancy Advisory Association (UPAA) was formed as a charitable body that would aid Northern Irish women to travel to England to receive an abortion. Compton and Goldstrom et. al. (1974) described increasing cases of women outsourcing abortions to England as they were prohibited in Northern Ireland. Their study suggested that the majority of Protestant women were referred, to UPAA, by their doctors. By contrast, a minority of Catholic women were referred via doctors and mostly relied upon informal networks of friends. The study concluded:
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The incidence of abortion among Roman Catholics seems to be remarkably high considering the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church and it looks as though it will rise still further in both relative and absolute terms. Compton & Goldstrom et. al. (1974, p.500)

It is not a precedent confined to Ireland; legislators in Argentina have had any attempts to legislate legal abortions fiercely blocked by the Roman Catholic Church (Bertomeu 2009). Bertomeu (2009) highlights the discriminative nature of such legislation on not only a gender basis but also on a class perspective. As in the example of Northern Ireland, middle-class pregnant women have the resources to travel abroad to receive an abortion whereas most working-class women lack the capital required to do so. It could be argued that such attempts to control norms, in a globalised world, are ineffective as people can commute for the service they want. Is this a lesson that can be applied to that victimless crime still prohibited today?

Abortion was legalised by the Abortion Act 1964. This was part of Home Secretary Roy Jenkins civilised society ethos. Similarities can be drawn between the legalisation of both abortion and homosexuality. Both were
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proposed as Private Members Bills by David Steel and Leo Abse respectively. David Steel claims to have been motivated by the class difference; it was abhorrent to him that richer women could afford a safe but still illegal abortion, while poorer women risked death from an unhygienic or incomplete abortion (New Statesman 2007). Steels bill was supported by Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, despite the failure of six previous Private-Member Bills to reform abortion legislation (New Statesman 2007). It is a similar story with homosexuality. Leo Abse, with the support of Lord Arran, proposed the Sexual Offences Bill 1966. The main driving force behind such a bill was the Wolfenden Report 1957 which recommended that homosexual behaviour should be legalised (Davidson 2004). On the basis of the Wolfenden Report, the Sexual Offences Bill was passed which legalised homosexual acts under stringent conditions. If the Wolfenden Report led to legislative change, what was the catalyst that instigated the report?

Prior to 1957 several prominent members of society, including Peter Wildeblood, Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers (all of whom were wellrespected landowners), were arrested and imprisoned for varying counts of buggery. Houlbrook and Waters (2006) suggest that whilst it was acceptable to create a homosexual underclass, it was different for members of high society. They suggest:

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Freudian scenarios are offered as explanations and partial justifications of the behaviour and desire of the respectable, middleclass homosexual, but that the effeminate or working-class queer was largely immune from convincing psychological explanations of his condition Houlbrook and Waters (2006, p. 159-160).

In other words, the actions of a middleclass homosexual can be justified, if not condoned, while a working-class homosexual should be criminalised. Is it surprising, then, that the report was commissioned in the aftermath of prominent middle and upper-class citizens being arrested for it?

It can be observed that the solicitation of prostitution is illegal. However, agencies that work privately, and generally cater for a more affluent client, operate legally in the UK. It could be sceptically suggested that, even today, a class barrier exists between working-class prostitution and the middle-class escorts.

References Anon (2007) Change the law to make early abortion easier. New Statesman (1996). 136 (4869) 4-4 Becker, H. (1963) Outsiders, Studies in Sociology of Deviance. New York: Free Press
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Houlbrook, M., Waters, C (2006) Heart in Exile: Detachment and Desire in 1950s London. Hist Workshop 62 (1) 142-165.

Bedau, H., Schur, E. (1974) Victimless Crimes: Two sides of controversy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Bertomeu, M. (2009) Bioethics, globalisation and politics. International Journal of feminist approaches to bioethics. 2 (1) 33-51.

Compton, P., Goldstrom, L. et al. (1974) Religion and Legal Abortion in Northern Ireland. Journal of Biosocial Science. 6 (4) 493-500.

Davidson, R (2004) The sexual state: sexuality and Scottish governance 1950-1980. Journal of the History of Sexuality. 13 (4) 500-521.

Chapter 7: Conclusions and Recommendations

The study looked to evaluate the role victimless crime had in the 21 st century, within the UK. A criticism of the study is that some chapters delve into specific topics in insufficient depth to make a conclusive judgement on that topic. It should be emphasised that the function of considering such topics was to further expand on the crux of the study, namely the extent of cultural influence on victimless crime. The study

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does however look to make recommendations, with the benefit of that research on how to update current prostitution and drug-use policy.

Of the four examples, homosexuality and abortion are clearly victimless crimes. It is not surprising that they are legal in the 21st centurys culturally accepting society. Prostitution and drug-usage are harder to define in this way, but this study argues that in some cases the act of committing the offence can degrade, and thus victimise the offender. Due to the self-inflicting nature of these degradations, it is difficult to outlaw the offences based solely on potential to cause self-harm.

Ethically, utilitarian principles support a cohesive damage limitative policy that can protect society, or at least protect as many people in it as possible. Whilst pain limitation is straightforward, the difficulty emerges in that the extent that the benefits of pleasure can be enjoyed without suffering inordinate pains. While the ethics of drug-use concludes that a cohesive, one-size-fits-all policy is required for societys gain, prostitution, by contrast, concludes that the emotional costs of sexual-intercourse can only be appraised by the sex-worker themselves.

The motives of policy-makers can be questioned; there is some evidence that cultural acceptance of behaviour is only condoned when it begins to
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apply to the ruling elite. Tony Blair once declared the class war to be over (BBC, 2011). It could be considered that as the class war, characterised by the miners strikes of 1984-198 we live in a classless society. However, there are still clear barriers between the policy makers of today and the working citizenry. This can be emphasised by the proportion of ministers who attended private education or are Oxbridge educated. This study suggests that the kind of transparent self-interest that motivated policy makers as they legalised abortion and homosexuality is less evident today.

This study suggests that the legislative support for reducing prostitution is sound. However, in recent years the support has diminished considerably. In the aftermath of the failure of Amsterdam to successfully implement legal brothels, there seem to have been a relaxation of efforts to reduce prostitution. Present policy takes a seemingly well thought out compromise of selective de-criminalisation, however despite this, current quality of life for sex-workers could be improved. This study strongly recommends that the state seriously research building trust in local police units among sex workers with the view to enable a successful zero tolerance strategy.

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Research that is actually listened to needs to be commissioned better to advise the practicality of de-criminalising some if not all drugs. From a cultural consensus there is no reason that all drugs should remain prohibited to protect shared values as there is to an extent public support for legalising cannabis among other less serious drugs.

To conclude: neighbourhood bigotry is still alive and well in the 21 st century. The extent that it suppresses people has moved from unchangeable personal traits (being female or homosexual) to castigating behaviour (prostitution and drug use). Unanimity of the kangaroo court of society does not provide justification for victimisation of its own. Ethical and common sense should prevail against pure populist motives, whether this will happen remains to be seen.

Reference

BBC (2011) Viewpoint: why the class struggle is not dead. [online] Accessible from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14721315 [Accessed 18th April 2013].

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