Human Rights Advocates Oppose Amnesty International’s Resolution
Amnesty International’s support for the full decriminalization of prostitution prioritizes the special interests of pimps (i.e., sex traffickers) and sex buyers over the human rights of people in prostitution. Full decriminalization of prostitution grants impunity to pimps and brothel-keepers by allowing them to carry out their activities as mere “sex business operators,” and creates a de facto right for men to buy people (the majority of whom are females) for sex. Amnesty also views prostitution as “sex work,” transforming the violence inherent to prostitution into an “on-the-job” requirement.
Most of these quotes from various organizations were collected by AmnestyAction. Please visit their site here.
SURVIVOR, WOMEN’S AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS/ACTIVISTS, WHO CONDEMN/ED AI’S 2014 DRAFT AND 2015 POLICY ON ‘SEX WORK’
* Eaves for Women response to Amnesty Consultation on prostitution – “…an approach that only focuses on the fact that prostitution exists is a massive poverty of ambition and abdication of responsibility to the women and girls around the world who may look to women’s human rights activists not only to try to help them while in it but actually to fight for their rights to better options.”
“That a human rights approach should be building and enforcing equal access to education, training, freedom of movement, financial autonomy, lives free from violence and the threat of it which is not dependent on prostitution. A human rights approach claims to speak truth to power – that means challenging demand for prostitution and attitudes to women, not reinforcing them.” more here
* SPACE International public statement – “We object in every way to the message and tone of this document, beginning with its title which, by framing prostitution as ‘Sex Work’, obscures the very nature of prostitution itself. Prostitution is abusive and exploitative sexual violence against humans, most often women and girls, carried out by other humans, usually grown men, who are in positions of relative social, racial and financial privilege to the human beings whom they buy for sexual use and abuse.” more here
* India’s victims of prostitution and poverty alliance (VOPPA) and survivor speak, Maine, US speak out to Amnesty International – “We are members of the Victims of Prostitution and Poverty Alliance in India. We would like Amnesty International to include our right not to be prostituted in their upcoming resolution. We are from the most marginalized section of society. We are poor, female and low-caste, often from groups labeled as nomadic tribes under British colonialism and from minority would like Amnesty to recognize that our prostitution is an absence of choice and not a choice. We request you as Amnesty India to take into account the lived experiences of the most marginalized low-caste and poor women and girls in India who want protection from our exploiters, not their impunity. We want you to call on states to invest in our basic needs. Our basic needs are our “human rights”…
* CATW International – “A vote calling for legalizing pimping would in effect support gender apartheid, in which some women in society can demand protection from rape, discrimination and sexual harassment, while others, the most vulnerable among us, are instead set aside for consumption by men and for the profit of their pimps,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, CATW’s executive director. “This is far from what Eleanor Roosevelt envisioned for the world when she penned the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
* Prostitution survivor Rachel Moran “…In its recently leaked “Draft Policy on Sex Work”, Amnesty displays its blind ignorance… The document itself is a sight to behold. It refuses to recognise that commercial sexual exploitation is a highly gendered abusive practice, and in numerous places throughout the document, Amnesty considers recommending the decriminalisation 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.”Author of Paid For, published in NewStatesman
* Sex Trafficking Survivors United – “It was shocking for us to see Amnesty’s suggestion that it is a “human right” for well off, powerful (mostly white) men to purchase the bodies of the younger, poorer and more vulnerable. We found it especially cruel that Amnesty says prostitution is a choice. As all survivors know, people end up in prostitution because they have no other choices, and are the victims of coercion, fraud, abuse and violence. The untruth that “prostitution is a choice” only serves to stigmatize and further trap most of the sexually exploited. This empowers their traffickers and abusers, while serving as a justification to arrest and marginalize the exploited rather than recognizing the truth that they are the victims of multiple crimes.”
* Melissa Farley, research and clinical psychologist, founder of Prostitution Research and Education. Press Release and Petition, August 18, 2015 – “220 scholars and researchers from 20 countries join in making the following statement regarding prostitution policy and Amnesty International policy supporting decriminalized prostitution. Signers are from Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA, and Venezuela.”
“We are scholars and researchers who support the Nordic model law on prostitution… In light of the documented psychological and physical harms caused by the sex trade, we oppose the proposed policy of Amnesty International, which would decriminalize pimps and sex buyers, and which fails to offer alternatives to prostitution. This policy would promote and expand the sex trade and has been shown to be associated with increased trafficking and increased prostitution of children and vulnerable adults based on race/ethnicity, sex, and poverty.” List of signatories here.
* Help Collective for Sexually Exploited Women – (Collectif d’Aide aux Femmes Exploitées Sexuellement – CAFES): An open letter to Amnesty International: “Although you are adamant about wishing to avoid this industry’s victimization of anyone, you ignore the words of those who have escaped it and know that regulating violence is impossible. You will not succeed in eliminating trafficking and abuse of people caught in the industry by defending those who exploit them, but you pretend to believe you can so as not to lose your generous donors. This attitude is unworthy of an organization that deems itself a human rights advocate.”
* Open letter to Amnesty International from an Indigenous woman– “…Lesson #1: For Aboriginal women, it is our human right to live happy lives free from violence, exploitation, prostitution and poverty. Lesson #2: For Aboriginal women, it is our human right to live without fear that men will abuse us, rape us, steal us from our lands and sell our bodies. Lesson #3: For Aboriginal women, it is our human right to have unfeathered access to our lands, cultures, languages and traditions. Prostitution is not a tradition of our people. Final Lesson: Native women deserve better than prostitution. All my relations, An indigenous woman.”
* The Collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter – “We strongly urge you to retract the resolution on “sex work” that was voted in this morning, August 11th, 2015. We are extremely alarmed by the disregard of mounting criticism by feminists, survivors of prostitution, anti-violence workers, abolitionists and other allies in the fight for women’s liberation.”
* Cindy McCain, chairman of the Human Trafficking Advisory Council at the McCain Institute for International Leadership – “Sex work and sex trafficking cannot reasonably be separated. Sex work fuels the demand for commercial sex, which is the indisputable driving force behind the sex-trafficking industry. Supply will always meet demand, and in this equation, supply is too often vulnerable men and women, and, at its very worst, children. Under the group’s proposal, sex traffickers and brothel owners could operate with immunity for facilitating what they say is consensual sex work. Protections should not be afforded to those who prey on a person’s vulnerability or lack of basic needs.
* European Women’s Lobby – “Voting yes to the decriminalisation of prostitution would be legitimizing an industry predicated on the sexual exploitation of women and children. Such a move would irreparably damage Amnesty International’s credibility on gender equality and with prostitution survivors, women migrants, indigenous women, minority groups and anti-trafficking movements.”
* Catriona Grant, social worker in the voluntary sector, writing in a personal capacity– “The policy makes the pimps and punters who buy sex invisible, creating invisible men (and whilst they are not exclusively men, they are the massive majority). It lets those that cause the demand for sexual services off the hook, it offers them legitimacy.”
* Women’s Aid federations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, (joint statement) – “oppose the decision taken by Amnesty International to support the full decriminalisation of prostitution. We believe this policy effectively legitimises abuse perpetrated by pimps, traffickers and exploiters, and sends a message to men and boys that they are entitled to access and abuse women’s bodies.”
* Swanee Hunt, Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy, Senior Advisor at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard Kennedy School, founded Demand Abolition – “I find no logical or ethical basis for the view that pimps’ and buyers’ rights trump the right not to be exploited when you’re scared, poor, and have suffered all kinds of abuse. Decriminalizing commercial sex overall isn’t reducing harm, it’s endorsing a system that exploits untold numbers of people worldwide.”
* Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current and journalist – “How can a policy on prostitution mention “gender equality” but fail to mention the entire foundation for a sex industry: gender inequality? Essentially, Amnesty International is advocating for our “equal rights,” as women, to prostitute ourselves, pretending as though this is a progressive move.”
* Kevin M. Ryan President and CEO, Covenant House – “Each year at our homeless shelters in 27 cities in six countries and our new safe house in the New York area, Covenant House sees devastated prostituted people, mostly young women, who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome as a result of being raped repeatedly in the sex trade, most often for someone else’s profit. Recent studies at our New York and New Orleans shelters have shown that almost a quarter of surveyed homeless young people have either been trafficked for sex or felt compelled to trade their bodies for food or a place to sleep.”
* Suzzan Blac, surrealist,author,survivor,speaker,research source and advocate against child and adult abuse – “Amnesty International – You have demonstrated today, that you have ignored and dismissed the countless victims and survivors of sex trafficking. And that you have assigned girls and women a second class status and you have jeopardised millions more vulnerable women and children, who will be at greater risk at the hands of flesh traders and buyers across the globe. Your actions and watching you all celebrate with your glasses of champagne today, have caused myself and many others who were forced by pimps into prostitution, utter distress, disbelief, anger and emotions that triggered and exacerbated our traumas, beyond words.”
* Heather Mallick Columnist – “It was odd to see Amnesty take the neoliberal view, that we live in a free market and sex is a commodity like any other… Amnesty’s media release, which skates around every mention of buyers or pimps, explains it doesn’t protect “abusive or exploitive” pimps. So presumably just the honey-hearted ones then.”
* Feminism and human rights – “It is with great concern, we receive the news that Amnesty International today has voted to adopt a policy, which supports the violations committed by the prostitution industry, and which strikes at the heart of the human rights of women and girls. We reconfirm our commitment to continue the struggle against prostitution of women and girls, and against those – pimps, prostitution buyers and traffickers – who hold up and profit from this form of sexualised violence and oppression directed against women and girls.”
* Prostitution survivor Rebecca Mott – “To say that hell is ok, is to say we really don’t give a shit about the welfare of the prostituted. That is the bottom line, Amnesty with this terrible policy, you have shown your hand. You really don’t give a shit about the basic human rights of the prostituted.
* Chris Hedges: receiver of the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002 – “We live in a global culture where the wretched of the earth are chattel and where sexual slavery—which is what most prostituted women and girls around the globe endure—is sanctified by market forces. These women and girls are among our most vulnerable. After being crushed by poverty, racism and sexism, they are unable to find other ways to make a sustainable income. They are treated little better than livestock transported to markets for consumption. That a so-called human rights organization (Amnesty International) parrots vile justifications is emblematic of the depth of our moral degeneration and the triumph of misogyny.”
* Janice G. Raymond the former co-director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) – “The misbegotten Amnesty policy, as voted on August 11, 2015, may protect sex workers and their allies, a relatively privileged minority of women and some men who seem to shill for the sex industry on websites and social media. However, it doesn’t protect the millions of women made vulnerable and marginalized by class, financial disadvantage, race, homelessness, war and conflict, and past sexual abuse who are caught in systems of prostitution and for whom there are few exits.”
* Simone Watson Director, NorMAC, Bronwyn Williams Member, NorMAC – “The policy document acknowledges that ‘systemic factors and personal circumstances related to poverty, discrimination and gender inequality can have a bearing on some individuals’ decisions to do sex work’, but insists that sex workers have ‘agency’ and ‘choice’ when entering sex work. Apart from the fact that most, not ‘some’ people (mostly women) enter prostitution because they have no other option, Amnesty’s glib recognition of their ‘agency’ is patronising in the extreme. They’re saying to the thousands of women forced into prostitution by these circumstances that even though they are poor, and suffering discrimination, at least they have agency.”
* Women’s rights activist Elizabeth Pickett – “Forget about feminist analysis just for a moment and look at how contract law — accepted in most of the Western world, in this case the United States of America — looks at the issue of consent to a transaction. Chunlin Leonhard explains:
“The volition requirement of consent ‘requires conditions free of coercion and undue influence.’ Coercion occurs when one person threatens to harm the other person in order to obtain consent. ‘Undue influence, by contrast, occurs through an offer of an excessive, unwarranted, inappropriate or improper reward or other overture in order to obtain compliance.’ Additionally, ‘inducements that would ordinarily be acceptable may become undue influences if the subject is especially vulnerable.’”
* National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) – “Denounces this decision as irresponsible advocacy in favor of a system that does immense and indelible harm to women, children, and men around the world. Amnesty International claims to “campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.” Yet, decriminalization of brothel-keeping and soliciting is a gift to pimps, sex traffickers, and sex buyers that enshrines in law a right to buy and sell other human beings. Such laws do not protect the human rights of persons in prostitution, but guarantee that their dehumanization and exploitation will continue.”
* Karen Ingala Smith, founder of #CountingDeadWomen and CEO of nia, London-based domestic and sexual violence charity working to end violence against women and girls but writing here in a personal capacity – “Prostitution is not safe for women. Women who sell sex face regular physical and sexual violence. More than half of women involved in prostitution in the UK have been raped and/or sexually assaulted – the vast majority of these assaults committed by sex buyers (Hester & Westmarland, 2004). Last year, 2014, six women who sell sex were murdered in the UK: Maria Duque-Tunjano, 48; Karolina Nowikiewicz, 25; Rivka Holder, 55; Yvette Hallsworth, 36; Lidia Pascale, 26 and Luciana Maurer, 23. They were all killed by johns, that is by men who buy sex.
Prostitution is often framed in the context of women’s choices, those of us who oppose prostitution accused of denying women’s agency, their capacity to choose and their right to do so. But a choice based on necessity, on a lack of viable alternatives isn’t really a choice. Five of the six women above were not born in the UK, coming from Colombia, Poland, Israel and two from Romania. The only UK born woman had a problem with substance use. Poor women, migrant women and women with problematic substance use are disproportionately represented amongst women who sell sex. And whilst some men sell sex, women do so disproportionately. Men are also overwhelmingly, regardless of the sex of the seller, the buyers.”
* Jessica Neuwirth, international human rights lawyer and co-founder of Equality Now and Donor Direct Action – “Amnesty is urging its membership to legalize the industry, making no distinction between the women being prostituted and those who pay for and profit from their exploitation. Sweden has made a legal distinction between those driven into the sex industry by poverty and discrimination and those who buy sex as an exercise of power and privilege. Its model law criminalizes only the buying of sex and offers support services to those who are bought. This progressive feminist method aims to decriminalize prostituted women without legitimizing the men who buy them.”
* The Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization (AF3IRM) – is “outraged that Amnesty International (AI), which was founded to strengthen human rights, now seeks to enshrine the business of prostitution as a “right” – ignoring the human damage that the privilege of sexual access for the dominant, the powerful and the wealthy over the bodies of the oppressed, the vulnerable and the poor, has done to generations upon generations of women, children and marginalized genders.”
* Raquel Rosario Sanchez, an activist and advocate from the Dominican Republic – “If you look beyond the façade of human rights for “sex workers,” what is revealed is a perfect example of an organization choosing ideology and profit over the well-being and human rights of women and girls.”
* Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) Statement on Amnesty International’s Resolution to Decriminalize Pimps, Brothel Owners and Buyers of Sex – “Amnesty’s Press Release announcing their vote seems innocuous to the naked eye with language about gender equality, women’s rights, human rights standards and child sexual exploitation. Don’t be fooled. Amnesty’s call on governments to decriminalize the sex industry underlines a willful and callous rejection of women’s rights and equality. The human rights organization opted to side with the multi-billion dollar international sex trade and to exclude prostituted individuals – who are overwhelmingly women and girls from disenfranchised racial, ethnic and economic groups – from the rights granted to all people in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… Amnesty has maintained its resolve to widen the door for human rights abuses against prostituted individuals on a global scale.”
* Women’s rights advocate Anna Djinn – “Amnesty presented the arguments in such a way that unless you were already well informed, you would get the impression that many people are calling for those involved in prostitution to be criminalised. However, in fact not a single feminist or human rights group or organisation working in the field is calling for this. This way of arguing is sometimes called a straw man argument and is often the sign of a poor argument or an ulterior motive. It is not the behaviour we would expect from an international human rights organisation. Similarly Amnesty disguised the fact that they were calling for the full decriminalisation of the entire sex industry, including pimps, punters and brothel owners, behind phrases like “the operational aspects” of the industry and by lumping sex buyers and sellers means that Amnesty members and supporters were asked to make a decision on the basis of incomplete information presented in a dishonest and biased way.”
* Denise Marshall, former CEO and Ambassador of EAVES, best known for its work supporting trafficked and prostituted women – “Eaves is dismayed by Amnesty’s misguided decision to legitimise and normalise the pimps, buyers, managers, exploiters and facilitators of prostitution today… It is a betrayal of women’s rights, an entirely defeatist position and a huge poverty of aspiration.”
* Feminism in London – “In response to Amnesty International’s decision to legitimise the profiteering from the sale of women in the sex industry, we refer back to our position statement; Amnesty’s sex industry stance fails women and girls.”
* Esohe Aghatise anti-trafficking manager at Equality Now – “The supposed logic is that gender equality exists to the extent that prostitution is a consensual act, but also that buying sex from women in prostitution is an important human right for some men to improve “their life enjoyment and dignity”. As somebody who has worked for several decades with prostitutes, I know exactly what “consent” means in the context of the sex trade. The vast majority of women enter it in the absence of real choices. Many are children – or were children when they first supposedly consented to it.”
* Meagan Tyler, member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA) and Research Fellow at RMIT University – “The schism on this issue between organisations that focus on human rights and organisations that focus specifically on women’s rights is telling. It has again raised prominent law professor Catharine MacKinnon’s incisive question: “Are women human?” Originally posed in a piece reflecting on 50 years of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, MacKinnon points out that men and men’s experiences are embedded in the document. This starts with Article 1, which calls on us to “act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”… We may have “women’s rights” but these do not always fit well into an existing framework of “human rights” that assumes a white, European man as its centre…”
* Laura McNally, psychologist, researcher, author and PhD candidate – “Amnesty and their supporters in the Australian feminist media argue that there are sufficient laws to deal with sexual exploitation and trafficking, including child sex abuse. They argue that not all prostitution involves sex trafficking.
On the contrary, all sex trafficking results in prostitution and any increase in the industry influences rates of trafficking. Research out of various European states, including the London School of Economics, has shown that any legalization of the sex trade significantly increases the flows of sex trafficking. An international study of male sex-buyers found that fully one quarter preferred women under the age of 18,with a universal preference for young women. This is reflected in Thai estimates that the sex industry involves around 40% children. Research shows over half of the women in Sydney’s sex trade are from overseas and many lack English comprehension.”
* Simon Hedlin, former political adviser for gender equality and human rights at the Prime Minister’s Office in Sweden – “decriminalizing buying sex seems to be at odds with Amnesty’s core objectives. One of the reasons that there are so many of us who have strongly supported Amnesty for years is the organization’s steadfast commitment to the fundamental rights of individuals, whether they are refugees, prisoners of conscience, or victims of torture. But buying sex is not a human right. Instead of adopting a harmful proposal, Amnesty should have learned from Sweden’s prostitution policies. In 1999, Sweden made it illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them – an approach that is now often called “the Swedish model.” The ingenuity of the Swedish model is that it protects those who are most vulnerable from being arrested and prosecuted. Nobody is forced to buy sex. But many individuals are coerced, deceived or threatened into selling sex.”
* Institute for feminism and human rights – “It is with great concern, we receive the news that Amnesty International today has voted to adopt a policy, which supports the violations committed by the prostitution industry, and which strikes at the heart of the human rights of women and girls. We reconfirm our commitment to continue the struggle against prostitution of women and girls, and against those – pimps, prostitution buyers and traffickers – who hold up and profit from this form of sexualised violence and oppression directed against women and girls.”
(Amnesty International’s) …current version of policy is justified on the grounds of “harm reduction and the human rights principles of physical integrity and autonomy”. But, it should be noted thatbackground documents on an earlier version of the same policy supported sex-buying under the rights to privacy, free expression and health.”
* Resistenza Femminista – “Your philosophy of harm reduction is another offence to us all! The abolition of prostitution is what we want and you need to listen to us! You tell yourselves that you want to improve the conditions of those who are in prostitution. You do not understand that those women who stand on the street to sell themselves short do not expect that you give them a coat when winter comes, but they expect you to bring them to a safe place, give them clothes and give them the security that that will no longer be their life… they wait, and have waited only that ‘someone might save me’. But still you dare to hide yourselves behind the rumour that they are prostitutes that CHOSE it!”
* Carolyn Leckie, Women for Independence(WFI) board member and National journalist – “Had the charity confined itself to campaigning for the release of all prostituted people from jails, and the decriminalisation of them, I would have warmly applauded. It is an abomination that tens of thousands of women whose only crime is having been driven into selling their bodies to feed their children are incarcerated in prisons across the world. Instead, along with many other women, including a large number of Amnesty’s own membership, I am left dismayed. Why? Because the charity is also calling for the decriminalisation of pimps, brothel keepers and the vast global industry whose profits are built from the exploitation of girls, women and young men mainly drawn from the depths of the extreme poor.”
* Antipornfeminists – “Amnesty’s decision isn’t actually much of a surprise, individuals at the top of Amnesty UK have been determined to push this through for a long time. How much of Amnesty’s resources will now be spent on lobbying on behalf of pimps, rather than advocating on behalf of the victims of torture and unfair detention?”
* Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now – ““As a partner human rights organization created specifically to fill a need that Amnesty was not addressing — namely a focus on women’s rights — Equality Now is very disappointed and deeply concerned by Amnesty’s decision today (11 August 2015).”
* sisterhex, feminist blogger – “Women and girls are involved in almost 80% of trafficking cases worldwide, with sexual exploitation a factor in nearly 90%. 20 million women and children have been trafficked into the global sex trade.
Consent is not necessarily obvious,or the concern of johns and the care of pimps. Consent is not the same as choice, with many women within the sex trade suffering from poverty, migration issues or vulnerable because of violence, intimidation, previous sexual abuse and addiction. Exploitation of women and girls won’t stop until we all refuse to buy into the lies of the sex trade, the johns, the pimps, the patriarchs and END DEMAND.”
* Michelle Kelly, bestselling crime and mystery author – “Packaging myself as an escort and charging a thousand pounds a night may have earned me more money and offered nicer places in which to ‘work’, but it didn’t protect me. It didn’t change the fact that I was desperate for the money, that I had been sexually abused, that I was originally coerced into the adult filming industry by an horrifically violent and abusive ex, or that I was primarily selling sex to fund a life-threatening drug addiction. It didn’t prevent my being attacked by punters. It didn’t stop me being secretly desperate to get out, until I became suicidal and too traumatized to get a full night’s sleep without waking up screaming. I didn’t tell my clients this of course, instead I defended my right to ‘work’ and painted myself as an empowered woman to my concerned friends.
Not that the majority of clients particularly care. An Eaves study in 2009 in London showed that the majority of punters were well aware of the likelihood that the prostitute was trafficked, addicted, traumatized or otherwise vulnerable. It didn’t stop them.”
GOVERNMENTS, TRADITIONAL LAND OWNERS AND CHAPTERS OF AI CONDEMNING AND REJECTING AI’S 2015 ‘SEX WORK’ POLICY
* Canada – “Prostitution in Canada largely affects Indigenous women — a reality you readily acknowledged in your report, Stolen Sisters. Poverty, addiction, homelessness, inter-generational violence, and mental illness leave women exceptionally vulnerable to pimps and johns but you knew this already, didn’t you? Why, I ask, promote an industry that exists off the backs of the most impoverished women? Why choose to stand behind those who profit from the human rights violations that occur in prostitution? In 2004, you acknowledged that Aboriginal women are exceedingly vulnerable to violence by men, regardless of race. In fact, you explained this violence was partially motivated by racism. It baffles me that you have failed to recognize the inherent racism present within prostitution. You know that it is our women who are over-represented in prostitution. You know it is our girls who are the most vulnerable to entering prostitution. Undoubtedly, this will continue to happen when men are permitted to purchase women with impunity.”
* Iceland – Seven Icelandic women’s organizations issued a joint statement expressing disapproval of human rights group Amnesty International’s proposed policy on the decriminalization of sex work last week, echoing concerns from other rights groups around the world. The Left Greens political party in Iceland was also outspoken in their disapproval of the policy… “Prostitution is abuse, and the selling of people is not consistent with our definition of human rights. Furthermore, it is impossible to clearly separate prostitution from human trafficking. The buyer of prostitution has no way of knowing whether the sex s/he is buying is provided by someone who is doing this of their own free will, or whether that person is a victim of human trafficking. If Amnesty International is serious about eradicating human trafficking, they need to realize that this can only be accomplished by eradicating the demand for prostitution. At the same time, we need to provide institutional resources and social support for those who engage in prostitution and want out,”
* Egypt – “Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has criticised a recent Amnesty International (AI) vote in favour of adopting a policy that supports decriminalisation of the sex trade, including prostitution. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NCW described the vote as contradictory to “public morality and human dignity.” “The vote violates women rights and turns women into a sex commodity,” the head of NCW, Mervat El-Tallawi, was quoted as saying in the statement.”
* Sweden – “Top Amnesty officials are being invited to Sweden to study its law which bans people from buying sex, after the human rights group voted to back the decriminalization of the sex trade. See also – Sweden takes on Amnesty International in debate over legalizing prostitution.
* Luxenburg – “Luxembourg’s chapter of human rights group Amnesty International voted against a resolution to decriminalise prostitution, calling for further research, it has emerged… “Amnesty International Luxembourg wanted to have more time to study the latest research prior to the adoption of this resolution, in particular studies concerning the ‘Nordic model’.”
* AI France – removed itself from consultation because they Do Not support this AI policy of full decriminalisation, they too support the Nordic model.
* Ireland – “Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is to proceed with plans to criminalise people who pay for sex, despite calls by Amnesty International for all aspects of sex work to be decriminalised. The department’s position, which also involves the decriminalisation of those selling sex, has been welcomed by Ruhama, an organisation working with women affected by prostitution. (Her) spokesman said: “The proposals… will be included in the forthcoming Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill follow a consultation conducted by the Department of Justice and Equality in 2012 and a further consultation by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, the report from which recommended criminalising the purchase of sexual services (June 2013).”
He added: “The proposals are also in line with a Council of Europe report which concluded that criminalising the purchase of sexual services is the most effective tool for preventing and combating trafficking in human beings (March 2014).” See also: Immigrant Council welcomes plan to criminalise the buyers of sex. Related: –Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality Report on hearings and submissions on the Review of Legislation on Prostitution June 2013.
* Amnesty Iceland – “A number of people have quit Amnesty International Iceland after the international organization agreed this week, at its world meeting in Dublin, to push for the decriminalization of prostitution. The Icelandic chapter did not support the proposal and abstained in the vote.”
* The Sexual Violence Centre in Cork has “withdrawn its support from Amnesty following a decision by director Mary Crilly to email the organisation yesterday cancelling its membership.
Ms Crilly’s criticism of the Amnesty move was echoed by Dublin Rape Crisis Centrechief executive Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, who said it “goes against everything Amnesty ever stood for”.”
* A Swedish member of Amnesty has “told The Local why she chose to join hundreds of others in quitting the organization after it voted to endorse the decriminalization of sex work.”