Crimes taking center stage in many nations

Illegal Drug Use, Illegal Prostitution, and Money Laundering

In most nations, the constitution is designed to curb among many crimes the use of illicit drugs, prostitution (and children trafficking for sexual purposes), and money laundering. Sadly, these crimes have continued to take center stage in many nations, with many arguing that the existence of these crimes is influenced by poverty, unemployment, corruption, and laxity of government officials to arrest and punish the involved parties. In nations such as the United States, the number of young men and women forced into a life of prostitution, and the use of illegal drugs is hiking steadily. Money laundering has also remained a concern in this nation, especially among the elite. Although different, these crimes are somewhat interconnected and require strict laws to limit their existence and effects in society.

Definition Illegal Drug Use

            In the United States, the term drug refers to is a substance that can be used to diagnose, cure, mitigate, or prevent diseases in humans and animals. While this nation supports companies tasked with the manufacture of drugs, it monitors these processes to ensure that the people do not engage in illegal consumption of drugs, or do not access narcotics and controlled drugs (Center of Disease Prevention and Control, 2019. Illegal drug use is the use of drugs for other purposes aside from medicinal or therapeutic. Usually, illicit drugs are addictive and dangerous to the physical, mental, and psychological health of users. Examples of illegal drugs include Heroin, meth, Cocaine, and marijuana (which is still illegal in most nations). Illicit drug use also refers to the consumption of medications unauthorized by a physician. For instance, some people self-medicate on pain medications, which leads to drug dependence, addiction, and adverse effects on human health.

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In a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Use, Marijuana is the commonly consumed illegal drug in the world. This drug is used by an array of people, ranging from minors, young adults, and individuals in different professions. The use of other drugs has also stabilized in the last several years. Research conducted in 2013 shows that over six million Americans above the age of twelve have used prescription medication non-medically in their lives(National Institute on Drug Abuse). More than one million have used hallucinogens, while over two million people are users of cocaine and heroin. The use of illegal drugs is rampant among prostitutes, who engage in unlawful sexual acts sometimes in exchange for drugs and money. Drugs that are common amongst prostitutes include heroin, crack, and cocaine. The link between drug abuse and prostitution is a bit unclear. While some scholars posit that people who use these drugs before becoming prostitution seek to quench their need for medications, others argue that prostitutes use drugs to deal with the vagaries of this profession(Wiechelt & Shdaimah, 2011). The effects of drugs make prostitutes more confident to handle the demands of their “customers” and give them a mechanism to cope with their negative feelings.

Definition Illegal Prostitution

            Prostitution is illegal in many parts of the world. In the United States, the act of exchanging sex for favors is a criminal offense in most states, except Nevada, which allows legal prostitution in the form of synchronized brothels. The term prostitution refers to a business or practice of engaging in sexual activities in exchange for payment. Considered the world’s oldest profession, prostitution has dominated the current society. In the past, this profession was largely associated with women. However, recent studies show that men also engage in this profession. The growth of prostitution has also been influenced by factors such as child trafficking and lax regulations that allow women and men to engage in prostitution without the fear of imprisonment. As mentioned, drug abuse is common among prostitutes, and in some cases, they are forced to sell these drugs to their ‘customers’ to increase their income.

Definition Money Laundering

            Individuals that engage in the selling and distribution of illegal drugs and prostitutes usually engage in money laundering to escape the suspicions of the government. The term money laundering refers to a process used by criminals to conceal the original ownership as well as control of income received from criminal activities, by making these proceedings appear to come from legitimate sources. Money laundering works via the transfer of money within complicated and elaborate monetary transactions, aimed at making it difficult for police to investigate the source of the money. Money laundering promotes criminal activities in society, and further, it can erode the economic structure of nations by altering the demand for money, thus making exchange and interest rates volatile. Money laundering also influences inflation rates in countries where criminal activities are rampant.  For criminals to avoid imprisonment, the money they receive from their illegal activities, for instance, illegal prostitution and illicit drug use, is ‘cleaned’ to seem as though it is derived from legal activities, in a process called money laundering. Notably, money laundering ensures that financial institutions deal with such monies without suspicion.

            There is a very close relationship between money laundering, drug use, and prostitution. Currently, scholars posit that drug profits within America’s financial system are estimated at one-hundred billion yearly.  The business of illegal drugs is estimated at four-hundred billion a year(Institute for Policy Studies, 2014). To invest the proceeds of their illegal business and avoid catching the attention of the authorities, drug traffickers change these proceeds into revenue from legal sources. Depending on the nature and amount of returns attracted by the illegal businesses, criminals use different tactics to evade the attention of the government, and in some cases, these activities can last for decades before the authorities and financial institutions can detect discrepancies in cash received from criminals(Institute for Policy Studies, 2014). Although nations such as the United States have devised laws and strict regulations to monitor cash received from suspicious businesses, cases of money laundering are still reported in these nations, a factor that shows there is a need for the implementation of better norms to eradicate this menace from the modern society.

Literature Review

            Illegal drug use, illegal prostitution, and money laundering remain among the most serious crimes in the United States and the world at large. The number of illegal drug users in the world has steadily hiked amidst national and international strategies designed to reduce the rate of illegal drug use in the world. The United States has some of the most effective strategies designed to curb these criminal activities. Prostitution is also another menace around the world. The number of sex workers across the globe is gradually hiking, with some pushing for its legalization. In the United States, prostitution remains a central legal issue that creates a forceful debate and is likely to remain an issue for many years. However, even though prostitution is illegal in most parts of the United States, the number of prostitutes in American streets still high. To cope with the emotional issues linked to this activity, many prostitutes turn to illegal drug use, a factor that has continually affected the overall war against drug abuse. Further, money collected from prostitution and the sale of illicit drugs is laundered and used to build vast criminal empires around the world.

Understanding Illegal Drug Use

            The statistics of illegal drug use and abuse show astounding figures for the number of people who engage in this activity. Studies show that by 2017, approximately twenty million American adults struggled with substance abuse. In addition, seventy-four percent of adults struggling with substance abuse also suffered from alcohol use disorder(American Addiction Center, 2020). Scholars believe that these figures have continued to hike. The use of illegal drugs and drug addiction is believed to cases the American government more than seven-hundred billion annually in terms of drug-related costs, healthcare expenses, and workplace productivity. The causes of illegal drug use are diverse and range from personal factors to societal issues.

Studies show that rational appraisal processes as opposed to a passive reaction to the context within which the illegal drugs are availed influence illegal drug use and abuse among the youth. Reports further show that the reasons given by young users of illegal drugs range from the need to feel better to specific functions such as to hike one’s self-confidence. Most adult users of illegal drugs argue that they aid in making their bodies more active and relieving cases of tiredness. Instrumental drugs use used to denote medication for reasons linked to the effects of the drugs. Drugs such as amphetamine help to reduce tiredness, improve concentration, and help individuals seeking to lose weight. Despite the reasons given to support the continued use of illegal drugs, the overall consumption of illicit drugs around the world is worrying and calls for the implementation of better and more effective strategies and laws to fight illicit drug use.

While drug use and abuse is among many social groups in the United States, prostitutes have a high likelihood of using illegal drugs compared to other groups. The life of prostitutes is usually characterized by challenges such as risks of contracting Hiv/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Prostitutes are also often raped, beaten, insulted, and killedby their pimps and customers. The relationship between prostitution and drug as close to the extent that many people perceive all sex workers as drug abusers. Most sexual workers use illegal drugs to numb the pain and ignore the horrors associated with illegal prostitution. The use of drugs is useful among prostitutes. It eliminates any inhibitions in sex workers and desensitizes prostitutes to the traumatic effects of their profession. Illegal drugs help prostitutes get rid of their anxiety and suppress their fears. In some cases, prostitutes addicted to illicit drugs use this profession to get more drugs to feed their habit. Still, victims of illegal trafficking are forced to take illicit drugs to reduce their resistance to the grim of working as a prostitute. Whether a sex worker is hired as a high-end prostitute or works along the streets, the trauma of this type of business forces the participants to engage in illegal drug use to survive. The addictions rooted in prostitution only exacerbate a problem that is already burdening America’s socio-economic structure.

Illegal Prostitution

            Prostitution is a sexual and economic institution that is highly gendered. While the majority of sex workers are women, the number of male prostitutes is on the hike. Strangely, male prostitution is widely accepted. On the other hand, female prostitution is considered deviance to the social and sexual norms of society. There are several types of illegal prostitution today. They include escort girls, brothel workers, prostitution agencies, window workers, and streetwalker prostitution. Escort girls mainly work online and market themselves by uploading their pictures and filling their profiles on different sites. These girls offer their services to wealthy individuals and usually charge a lot of money for every session. Brothel workers are found in buildings managed by agents. The agency administrations decide the prices of the prostitutes depending on age, ethnicity, and body structure, among other factors.

In agency employment, prostitutes pay a certain fee to an agency responsible for finding clients interested in engaging with sexual relationships with prostitutes. The agency is responsible for bringing clients and customers together. Typically, these agencies accept young and beautiful individuals who can attract rich and influential customers. Window workers is a type of prostitution where prostitutes are displayed on windows to entire passer-by customers. These establishments usually have a bathroom, which allows prostitutes to freshen up, go back to the window, and entice more customers. Streetwalker prostitution involves sex workers standing on the streets to attract customers. It is considered the most dangerous type of prostitution since most prostitutes are exploited, poorly paid, beaten, raped, and their payment denied. Most trafficked children usually end up working as streetwalker prostitutes and drug peddlers.

There are several causes of prostitution in the United States and across the world. For instance, the increase in child trafficking cases around the world has a close link to prostitution. Children trafficked from different parts of the world are forced to work as prostitutes in brothels and around streets in cities and towns. Another factor that has led to the continued dominance of prostitution is poverty and unemployment. The scarcity of job opportunities sometimes pushes individuals into a life of prostitution as a means to earn a living(Farley, 2017). Some prostitutes are poor single parents and students who engage in this business to afford the basic amenities in life. Prostitution is also caused by gender discrimination and the lack of stable family structures and values.  It poses an array of issues in society. For example, prostitutes have a high likelihood of contracting severe sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Chlamydia. In addition, prostitution encourages violence against women, and homosexuals considered weak to fight back when attacked(Farley, 2017). Further, prostitution promotes the existence of other crimes, such as drug use and abuse, child trafficking, and violence, a factor that makes it harder for society to curb these crimes.

Money Laundering

            Money laundering is gradually becoming an elite crime in the United States.  For instance, in 2018, Paul Manafort, who was once the campaign chairman of President Trump, was found guilty of bank and tax fraud. In another trial, Manafort was prosecuted for money laundering; he was accused of garnering millions of dollars from President Viktor Yanukovych. Instead of declaring these monies to the IRS and pay his taxes as is expected of all American citizens, Manafort put this money in offshore accounts and used them to purchase a posh real estate in the United States. He then used his real estate dynasty to clean the cash. In another case, Tom DeLay, a U.S Congressman, was indicted on money laundering charges, which forced him to quit his position as House Majority Leader. Money laundering is a crime that is ubiquitous in nature. Studies conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime argue that approximately eight-hundred billion and two trillion dollars are cleaned annually. That is roughly five percent of the entire world’s GDP. The success of worldwide financial markets makes it easier for criminals to conduct their illicit activities and evade the law. The most common criminals who launder money include corrupt politicians, mobsters, terrorists, con artists, public officials, and of course, drug traffickers. Scholars posit that drug traffickers require sophisticated systems of money laundering since they deal exclusively with money, which leads to various logistics problems. Money is substantial and easily detectable by law-enforcement officers. While seventy-pounds of cocaine fetch approximately a million dollars, this kind of money can weigh over a hundred kilograms, making it difficult for a drug dealer to move with it from one place to another.

The money-laundering process has three steps, which include placement, layering, and integration.  During the placement stage, the individual responsible for the laundering inserts the cash in an authentic financial institution in the form of cash deposits. It is the most dangerous stage of the money laundering process, mostly because large amounts of money are conspicuous, and legally, bank officials are required to report large transactions(Sarigul, 2013). In the second stage, the launderer sends the money via different financial businesses to change the form and almost impossible to trace. Layering requires several financial transfers between different financial accounts in different identities in different nations, as well as deposits and withdrawal to change the money in the reports, and making final purchases to alter the form of the cash(Sarigul, 2013). Layering is a complicated process, and it is all about making the laundered money challenging to trace. In the third stage, integration,the laundered money re-enters the current economy in a legitimate form, making it appear as though it is from a legal transaction. It is difficult for law-enforcement officers to catch and prosecute money launders at this stage. Money laundering has extreme effects on the financial structure of nations.

From a socio-cultural perspective, money laundering usually means that criminal activity is profitable. This notion encourages criminals to engage in criminal activity within the society, which means they can engage in criminal activities with no repercussions. Money laundering creates room for more crimes such as fraud, embezzling (leading to more employees losing their pensions when companies collapse), more illicit drugs on the streets, law-enforcement resources drained beyond their means(Violeta & Napolon, 2018). Money laundering further affects morale among legitimate businesspersons who incur extreme losses as a result of the existence of illegal businesses. The economic effects of money laundering are extreme and dangerous. Third-world nations often bear the burden of modern-day laundering largely because world governments are still in the process of establishing laws for privatized financial sectors. Because of this reason, many criminal gangs and money launders target these nations. For instance, in the mid-1990s, several banks in the Baltic States had large deposits rumored to have been acquired through illegal activities. The bank collapsed as a result of withdrawals from patrons who feared to lose their money. Money laundering further leads to discrepancies in economic policies emanating from artificially overblown financial sectors. Large influxes of dirty money in certain areas of a nation’s economy create false demand that affects legitimate businesses. Successful money laundering processes can derail even the strongest financial structures in the world.


While illicit drug use, illegal prostitution, and money laundering are different forms of crimes, they are interconnected and can derail world economies. Illicit drug use is still a major in the United States. Illegal drug use and abuse support a multi-million dollar industry in the United States, a factor that continues to affects strategies implement to curb the influx of drug use and abuse in society. Illegal drug use is also linked to illegal prostitution. In some cases, prostitutes are forced to sell and use drugs to survive. Money collected from these activities is often laundered and use to build larger criminal entities that derail world economies. While these crimes pose serious issues to the socio-economic structure of the world, governments have designed strategies aimed at reducing their impacts. Sadly, their prominence is still worrying, a factor that calls for the implementation of new and better policies to protect the lives and economic structure of the world economy.


American Addiction Center. (2020, February 3). Addiction Statistics | Drug & Substance Abuse Statistics. Retrieved from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, September 4). Illicit Drug Use. Retrieved from

Farley, M. (2017). Risks of Prostitution: When the Person Is the Product. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 3(1). Retrieved from

Institute for Policy Studies. (2014, May 9). Drug Trafficking & Money, Laundering. Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). Nationwide Trends. Retrieved from

Sarigul, H. (2013). Money laundering and abuse of the financial system. International Journal of Business and Management Studies, 2(1), 289.

Violeta, B., & Napolon, B. (2018). Negative effects on the domestic economy caused by money laundering. International Journal of, 27. Retrieved from

Wiechelt, S., & Shdaimah, C. S. (2011). Trauma and Substance Abuse Among Women in Prostitution: Implications for a Specialized Diversion Program. Journal of Forensic Social Work, 1(2), 161.


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