Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term victimless crimes and its alternative phrasing crimes without victims refer to illegal acts that involve behavior that the participants engage in voluntarily. For example, the prostitute and the prostitute's customer both view their interaction as a business transaction in which, as in other commercial arrangements, both parties achieve what they desire. The prostitute obtains money and the customer has the desired sexual experience. Though the behavior is criminal, neither party will file a police report, unless, perhaps, the transaction involves theft or physical violence. Similarly, narcotic dealers and their patrons voluntarily agree to a transaction much the same as that involving the purchase of alcohol or shopping for groceries. Abortion, which was illegal in the United States until 1973, poses a more complicated situation. Both the person performing the abortion and the woman undergoing it do so voluntarily. But the burning issue is whether the aborted fetus is ...