Illicit vs Illegal
Illicit and illegal are two words that we see and hear commonly in newspapers and TV programs. Though illegal is easily understood by people as behaviors that are against the laws of a country, it is the word illicit that is misunderstood because of its similarities with illegal. Despite similarities, there are many differences between illegal and illicit that will be discussed in this article.
Every society has norms, rules and regulations for accepted behaviors and people going beyond the boundaries of socially acceptable behaviors are looked down upon. However, this was enough in old times when laws had not been put in place to serve as deterrence for such people. In modern times, every country has a judicial system in place and has clearly defined laws which are to be followed by the people. People who go against these laws get punished by the law in the form of penalties or sentences in prison. Such behaviors are termed as illegal and administration deals with such people according to the provisions of laws. Some common behaviors that attract provisions of law are violence, murder, loot, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, corruption and so on.
Illicit is a behavior or an act that is forbidden by law but a person indulges in it knowing that he is doing something illegal. Illicit act is furtive and secretive in nature and people engage in it thinking they can get away with the law. One example of illicit act is where a married man has illicit relationship with another woman that causes him a lot of embarrassment when it becomes known to all, especially his wife. Illicit trade of drugs that are banned in a country is another example of illicit act. There are some narcotic drugs that banned in many countries yet some citizens of these countries indulge in trading of these drugs in anticipation of huge profit.
Nuclear proliferation is one act that has been declared illegal but there are some countries that are suspected of illicit nuclear dealings with other countries. Similarly, trafficking in human organs and human flesh (child and females) is strictly prohibited in all countries, yet cases of smuggling of females for sex and also children from poor countries into rich countries for sexual pleasure is a common and frequent phenomenon that comes to light every now and then.
• Illicit is also illegal as there are laws to deal with illicit acts. But what differentiates illicit from illegal is the secretive nature in which such acts are committed.