Amnesty International, a renowned human rights group, had surprisingly pushed for the decriminalization of sex work and prostitution. Hundreds of delegates from its international chapters passed a resolution calling for Amnesty International’s board to adopt a policy for the full protection of the rights of sex workers. The representatives from different countries convened in Dublin on Aug 11, 2015 for its 32nd International Council Meeting.
In line with this, the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women penned an open letter addressed to the human rights watch dog that oppose the resolution. The three-page letter included a 20-page list of names of signatories that objected the whole policy of decriminalizing sex trade. Those who signed the open letter included Hollywood A-listers in the likes of Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emma Thompson.
Amnesty International supports the full decriminalization of consensual sex work
In a press release, Amnesty International explained that it is working on a policy that will advocate the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual work. The policy will also call on states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence, the group said in its statement.
The group said that the policy it is pushing is based on extensive research from sources including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UN Women and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. The group has also consulted sex worker groups, groups representing survivors of prostitution, abolitionist organizations, feminist and other women’s rights representatives, LGBTI activists, anti- trafficking agencies and HIV/AIDS organizations.
“Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
“We recognize that this critical human rights issue is hugely complex and that is why we have addressed this issue from the perspective of international human rights standards. We also consulted with our global movement to take on board different views from around the world,” Shetty added.
Coalition Against Trafficking of Women penned an open letter
In an open letter, the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women said it agrees with Amnesty International’s belief that human beings bought and sold in the sex trade, who are mostly women, must not be criminalized in any jurisdiction and that their human rights must be respected and protected to the fullest extent.
“However, what your ‘Draft Policy on Sex Work’ is incomprehensibly proposing is the wholesale decriminalization of the sex industry, which in effect legalizes pimping, brothel owning and sex buying,” the coalition wrote in the letter.
Amnesty’s vote to support the decriminalization of pimping, brothel owning and sex buying, in effect expressed the group’s support of a system of gender apartheid, the coalition said.
“One category of women may gain protection from sexual violence and sexual harassment, and offered economic and educational opportunities; while another category of women, whose lives are shaped by absence of choice, are instead set apart for consumption by men and for the profit of their pimps, traffickers and brothel owners,” the coalition wrote.
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