Amnesty International has recently endorsed a policy of full decriminalization of prostitution, and human rights advocates are speaking up in protest.
Decriminalized prostitution refers to the removal of laws criminalizing the sex trade. One form of decriminalization—commonly referred to as the Nordic model—targets only individuals involved in the selling of sex (i.e. prostituting persons); other forms of decriminalization may seek to decriminalize all parties involved in the provisioning, buying, and selling of sex.
Thus, “full” decriminalization refers to the repeal of laws pertaining to pimping, brothel keeping, and sex buyers, as well as those who sell sex. This full decriminalization is what Amnesty is advocating for, and by decriminalizing pimps and sex buyers they are sanctioning the abuses experienced by those in prostitution.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation teamed up with CitizenGo to create a petition calling on Amnesty to both change its policy and to formally apologize to those exploited in the sex trade. This petition already has over 35,000 signatures and continues to grow!
Prostitution Survivor Rachel Moran had this to say about Amnesty’s full decriminalization policy:
“[Amnesty’s policy in favor of decriminalizing prostitution] refuses to recognize that commercial sexual exploitation is a highly gendered abusive practice, and in numerous places throughout the document, Amnesty considers recommending the decriminalization of punters, pimps, brothel owners and others who exploit women for financial gain or sexual gratification in the global sex trade.
…One would expect that Amnesty would know their resolution is in direct contravention of at least three UN Conventions. Since they are ignoring the fact, it is timely to remind them… …Where prostitution has been given the government’s stamp of approval and repackaged as legitimate “sex work”, there is no onus on governments to provide exit strategies – any more than they’d be expected to provide exit strategies for women in nursing, hairdressing or childcare. Women like this are simply abandoned by the state.”
We refuse to stand silent while Amnesty International so flagrantly abandons its mission to prevent “grave abuses” of human rights. It’s time to take a stand.