STATEMENT: Amnesty International’s New Policy Defends Pimps and Sex Traffickers

NCOSE Press Statement logo

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington, DC – Today, Amnesty International released its final policy document in favor of full decriminalization of prostitution. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) denounces this policy as one that ignores the brutal experiences of prostituted persons and empowers pimps, sex buyers, and sex traffickers.

“Full decriminalization of prostitution is a gift to pimps, sex buyers, and sex traffickers,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Under Amnesty International’s irresponsible policy these exploiters become mere ‘sex business operators’ and ‘customers,’ and the sexual violence and abuse inherent to prostitution is normalized as a form of ‘work.’ By endorsing this policy, Amnesty International has undermined the human rights of persons in the sex trade (the majority of whom are females), and has advocated for impunity for perpetrators of sexploitation.”

“Sexual exploitation should never be anybody’s ‘job,’” Hawkins continued. “Full decriminalization of prostitution in no way rectifies the conditions of inequality, abuse, violence, and dehumanization, which animate all forms of prostitution—it tragically assents to them. Prostitution—sex for money or something of value—is not only itself a form of sexual coercion and exploitation, but also begets even more forms of sexual exploitation, like sex trafficking. A 2012 study published in World Development found that countries with legalized prostitution are associated with higher human trafficking inflows than countries where prostitution is prohibited. This should not surprise us. Once the law sanctions an activity, demand for that activity increases, and men, women, and children are trafficked in order to meet that demand. And so, it’s quite probable that Amnesty’s new policy will actually increase both sex trafficking, and the sexual exploitation of individuals in prostitution in countries that implement their guidance.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is encouraging the public to email Amnesty International’s leaders to demand Amnesty change its policy on the full decriminalization of prostitution. NCOSE is also encouraging the public to tweet @Amnesty using the hashtag: #NoAmnesty4Pimps. Amnesty International is a member of NCOSE’s 2016 Dirty Dozen List for its role as a significant contributor to the normalization of sexual exploitation.

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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