Amnesty International’s Effort to ‘Decriminalize’ Prostitution: ‘Gift to Sex Traffickers’

Original Source: CNS News

By Barbara Hollingsworth | November 4, 2015

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is criticizing Amnesty International’s proposal to decriminalize prostitution worldwide as “a gift to sex traffickers.”

Decriminalization, the group says, will not change “the essential exploitive nature of commercial sex.”

On August 11, the Amnesty International Council passed a resolution calling for the full decriminalization of prostitution for consenting adults over the age of 18, claiming that “sex worker rights are human rights.”

But NCOSE, which launched its “No Amnesty For Pimps” campaign at an October 8th press conference in Washington, called the resolution “a gift to pimps, sex traffickers and sex buyers that enshrines in law a right to buy and sell other human beings.”

On October 23, NCOSE joined a global protest against Amnesty International’s new policy.

Lisa Thompson, NCOSE’s vice president of education and outreach, criticized Amnesty International for adopting the controversial position that would treat the $99 billion global sex industry just like other commercial ventures.

“Right out of the gate, Amnesty adopted the ‘sex worker’ framework, which makes buying human beings for sex normative,” Thompson told “They also consulted with a woman who was convicted of sex trafficking in Mexico. The process is corrupt when pimps and sex traffickers have a place at the table.”

A 2012 French study estimated the number of prostitutes (80 percent of whom are women and girls) worldwide between 40 and 42 million, with 75 percent between the ages of 13 and 25. Ninety percent are controlled by a pimp.

“Pimps receive, harbor, transport, provide and obtain persons for sex using fraud and coercion. That’s the exact definition of a sex trafficker,” Thompson pointed out. “Any pimp-controlled woman is by definition a victim of sex trafficking.”

Thompson noted that NCOSE has received nothing but “deafening silence” from Amnesty International after launching the campaign along with other groups that oppose the commercialization of sex, including the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.

“It’s important to clarify that ‘full decriminalization’ applies to brothel keepers, sex buyers, and pimps as well as persons who sell sex,” Thompson told Decriminalization would “normalize sex-buying behavior, and that would take the lid off demand. When you remove the social sanctions against buying and selling people for sex, demand outstrips supply.

“There will never be a sufficient supply of willing adult women to meet the demand. So the sex industry will have to depend on bad actors who compel women and children to be part of the sex trade,” she continued.

“Amnesty is ostensibly concerned about the welfare of persons in prostitution and police violence against them, which nobody disputes, and sees full decriminalization as a path to getting rid of the problem. But violence and exploitation [of women] is overwhelming at the hands of pimps and sex buyers,” Thompson said.

“Decriminalization means that such actions will no longer have law enforcement scrutiny.”

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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