Kidnapping for Profit

COMMENT: I read your piece on taking the profit out of prostitution to end kidnapping young girls. That has been a huge problem in Eastern Europe and girls were even getting kidnapped in Western Europe on vacation. Here in Italy, there was a huge problem of kidnapping people and demanding money from their families. The government passed a law that if a family member was kidnapped, they froze the accounts of the family to prevent people from paying. At first, it seemed cruel. But once it was no longer profitable to kidnap people, it stopped. I think your idea would probably work.

VSZ, Rome

REPLY: When they tried prohibition in the USA, it did not stop people from drinking. What it did do was establish the Mafia in the USA. Suddenly booze was profitable. When prohibition ended, the Mafia was well funded and expanded into other ventures. When you make anything illegal, it becomes tax-free and there is the incentive to expand whatever that business might be. We are talking about human nature. During a crisis, legal goods are suddenly going for a premium. They call it price gauging which is illegal in Florida but it still goes on in a storm.

They are now warning Americans traveling to some parts of Mexico for they are starting the same scheme – kidnapping people for ransom. If there is a profit to be made from any illegal activity, it will be exploited. It does not matter what the subject might be from drugs, booze, to prostitution. Just follow the money.

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