Smuggling has been a problem in the United States for many years. The continuous breaching of our borders may one day allow the smuggling of something that could cause massive destruction and death to our country. It is easy to see how the smuggling of something as innocuous as a specific flower or bush can be a problem when it infiltrates the native environment and kills off many different species. But smuggling is not limited to this. There is also the continuous smuggling of drugs and people into this country that causes many problems.
Although many people who are smuggled into the United States do so to work or to be with their family, there is a large percentage of them that are forced into prostitution or some other form of slavery. This paper will look at these specific cases of smuggling and determine what, if anything can be done about it. Smuggling is done for many reasons. Generally when something is smuggled, it is smuggled over an international border and it is smuggled for many reasons; either to avoid paying taxes, because the item is illegal, or, in the case of people, because they are not supposed to be there.
As an example of this, it is estimated that millions of dollars worth of cigarettes are smuggled every year. These cigarettes are not necessarily smuggled into the United States from another country, but from other states, in which the taxes are low. A carton of cigarettes may be as cheap as $20 in a state like Virginia, and in states like New York, where the cigarette taxes are very high, making the total cost of a carton $75 can lead to a profit for the smuggler of about $40 per carton. The smuggling of cigarettes from one state to another is fairly simple.
There are not any customs officials to pass through, and if the smuggler gets pulled over, it is very unlikely that the police officer would search his or her trunk, where the cartons may be. But getting over international borders is usually more difficult, and the smugglers have evolved certain strategies for not getting caught. One way smugglers pass over the border is with the use of small, private planes. The smuggler can fly into the country undetected, allowing whatever he is smuggling into the country.
They are also small boats smugglers can use to get themselves from a specific country to the United States. These boats are known as “go-fast” boats and can be used to smuggle anything from drugs to people. And one way to smuggle that we are seeing more and more are the use of tunnels. A smuggler may hire someone to dig tunnels underground, allowing nearly anything to be passed from one country to the next without having to go through customs. More daring smugglers, however, will hide whatever it is that they are smuggling and attempt to get through customs this way.
They may hide it on their bodies or under their clothes, inside themselves, in their cars, or in the bodies of animals that may be traveling with them. Like the more clandestine ways, this way of smuggling is rampant, as evidenced by the massive amount of smugglers caught each year while trying to go through customs. Smuggling has consequences for everyone. Of course, the smugglers, assuming they do not get caught, make out better than anyone. Usually the practice of smuggling is very lucrative.
The profits from illegal drugs and cigarettes and the trafficking of humans provide smugglers with billions of dollars every year. As long as the profit margin is high, there will always be people illegally smuggling. The “war on drugs” must be concerned with the smuggling problem. But the question of how to win the war on drugs is an interesting one. If by winning the drug war it is meant the eradication of all drugs, then the United States has surely lost. There are still people, usually those directly involved with the drug war, that still think we should keep fighting the war as we always have been.
But there has been now over a trillion dollars spent on the war on drugs and drugs today are more potent and making larger profits than ever. The people benefiting most from the war on drugs are the smugglers and the drug dealers themselves. The fact remains that all throughout human history, intoxicants have been used in one degree or another, so why would we think people today are any different? By this definition of the war on drugs the United States, on all counts, has lost.
There is another way to win the war on drugs and that is to turn it into a war on smugglers and drug dealers. People are going to always be looking for ways to alter their consciousness. Everyone does it; whether you work out, or take heroin, the point is to feel better. Drugs are not going away. Drugs like marijuana and meth, which can be produced by anyone, will always be with us. By regulating drugs, and making the tax on them universal, the drug dealers and the smugglers would be put out of business. We cannot change how people feel, or what they want to do.
All we can do is deter them from doing it. So the question becomes, what is the best way to deter them? We could threaten them with jail, but this obviously does not work, as nearly 80 percent of people in jail are there in some way for drugs. So we could decriminalize and regulate the drugs, putting gangs, dealers and smugglers out of business and using the profits from the sale of the drugs to educate people about their effects. This form of deterrence would be more much more humane and effective than how the war has been fought thus far.
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