Since January 2017, France requires all cigarette packs to be sold in plain packaging — they all come in the same green-ish colour, only a neutral font lets the consumer identify the different brands. The government’s anti-tobacco fanaticism costs the taxpayer a fortune.
It sounded a bit like Paris had Stockholm Syndrome when the papers announced “the government is buying 100 million euros worth of cigarettes off of French tobacconists”. These coloured packs which were delivered to the tobacconists before the law and make a up a total amount of 15 million packs of cigarettes, or a 36-hour tobacco consumption of the entire country. With a total weight of 250 tons, an astounding number of old, coloured packs, complete with brand name, will be prohibited soon.
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Although prostitution has been taboo for centuries, the current sex trafficking paranoia complicates the situation—both authorities and the public believe sex trafficking is far more common than it is.
To inflate the numbers, the American government includes people that know the sex workers personally, or who are just buyers as “pimps,” in the list. That being said, sex trafficking and human trafficking exists, butdecriminalization—that is, to stop regulating sex work among willing adults—is the only tool to fight back.
Prohibition Doesn’t Work
Prohibition in one form or another has been used for a long time without good results. Even Amnesty International now concedes that by decriminalizing sex work, resources can be devoted to preventing and resolving actual cases of trafficking, not paranoia supported by people with a narrow political agenda.
The only people who have always stood for sex worker rights are libertarians.
The sex trafficking paranoia is like the new War on Drugs and there is even a bipartisan consensus in opposing sex work. Conservatives usually oppose legalized sex work on religious, moral, or societal grounds. Even liberals often oppose it by saying that sex work oppresses women, or assume that all prostitutes are really victims of sex trafficking—or worse, are somehow culpable criminals.
Thanks to this paranoia, a teenage sex worker who was the victim of trafficking herself, was recently accused of human trafficking for getting in contact with another teenage girl while she was under influence of a violent pimp. This is a perfect example of victimizing the victims—exactly the opposite of what proponents of prohibition said would happen if their favored laws are enacted.
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Last month, President Donald Trump appointed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the head of a task force aimed at curbing opioid use and abuse. On April 11, it was announced that Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino would likely step down from his current position to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as the “drug czar.” However, increased drug control is unlikely to prevent drug-related deaths. Before instituting harsher drug policies, Christie and Marino must acknowledge that drug regulation has already made the situation deadlier.
Throughout his political career, Christie vowed to further regulate various drugs ranging from marijuana to heroin. Despite his “get tough” attitude on narcotics, his state has seen opioid deaths climb by 214 percent since 2010. Yet Christie continues to make battling overdoses his top, and seemingly only, priority in his final year in office. He recently signed a bill into law that bars doctors from issuing a script of longer than five days for first-time painkiller prescriptions. It also requires that any prescription of a pain killer for acute pain is the “lowest effective dose.”
Similarly, in his time in Congress, Marino has focused a lot on drug issues. He introduced drug regulation bills in the house, including the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act which aims to stop drug trafficking across borders, and a bill that increases collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Agency and prescription pill companies.
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