Saturday, May 21, 2005

The problem with vice

The problem with vice is that it happens anyway.

In our puritan outrage drugs and prostitution have been made illegal but no matter how much money, effort, time we throw at eliminating them, they still remain. I think it's safe to say that they always will remain while humanity exists.

So what do we do about it? Criminalising prostitutes, drug addicts simply turns them into easy victims for the real criminals.

Legalisation of all drugs. Have them manufactured by pharmacutical companies to national quality standards, tax them and sell them to any adult who wishes to use them. They will be far cheaper than the criminal products, the criminal's market will vanish. Substantial amounts of the tax revenue can be ploughed into medical rehabilitation services for the addicts.

Legalisation of prostitution, creation of licenced prostitiutes and licenced brothels. Give the prostitutes somewhere safe to work, regular medical checks. Tax them like any other worker. Require that the brothels operate away from "civilised" society. It will reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, it will reduce assaults on prostitutes, it will reduce the numbers of prostitutes who are murdered.

Both these measures would drastically reduce the amount of money wasted policing vice. Money which could frankly be better spent on other policing matters.

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