Human rights group Amnesty International’s (AI) 2015 policy on ‘sex work’ advocates for pimps and johns rights to buy and sell women for ‘sex’ by calling on countries to decriminalise all aspects of the sex industry.
This is as opposed to the Nordic model of prostitution, which implements the full decriminalisation of prostituted people hand in hand with support services and exit programs, while criminalising the pimps and johns who create the demand for, and profit from, this highly gendered and inherently violent and degrading ‘industry’.
In 2014, an AI draft policy was leaked revealing AI’s future intentions to endorse the full decriminalisation of the sex industry, including the pimps and johns. During a Q & A that followed, the Director of AI UK said, “in an imperfect world many women end up in ‘sex work’ as an economic last resort“. As an economic last resort, there is no choice, choice implies other choices to choose from. As an economic last resort Money Does Not Equal Consent.
The most vulnerable women and girls will be the ones affected by such policies because they are the ones being funneled through the sex industry. Poor women, abused women, addicted women, homeless women, women of colour.
Why is AI endorsing vulnerable women and girls being prostituted as a means of survival, instead of the Nordic approach with support services and exit programs; rehabilitation, mental health services, housing, educational and job training, etc, to give these women real choices and a supportive environment to succeed in?
AI’s 2014 leaked draft policy gives us a bit of an idea, showing a lot of concern for the men who buy prostituted women and girls for ‘sex’ (removed from the 2015 policy):
“Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need,” said one footnote in the leaked document. “To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.”
The document also stated that outlawing sex between consenting adults, whether paid for or not, “threatens the rights to health, non-discrimination, equality, privacy, and security of person.” The excerpt that prompted the most criticism advanced the argument that “men and women who buy sex from consenting adults are also exercising personal autonomy.” By Patrick Goodenough, read more here.
But that was all in 2014. With such great opposition from survivor and women’s organisations over this last year and a half, AI and affiliates should now be looking towards the Nordic approach, endorsing real support and choices for vulnerable and marginalised women and girls, instead of prostitution, right?
Below are just three ‘reviews’ of prostituted women that johns have written on different online forums. Documented by Invisible men Canada – @InvisibleChoice – These are the johns that AI now support, and the women AI have forgotten.
@InvisibleChoice replied to Kenneth Roth’s above recent tweet, with the reality of this statement for vulnerable and marginalised women worldwide;
There are vested interests all over this AI policy on ‘sex work’, the vested interests of men. “The law needs to reflect the trade’s abusive nature.”
- Male sexual entitlement is killing women
- Men who buy sex share ‘key characteristics’ with aggressive sex offenders, study claims
- A prostitute’s life: ‘Whether it hurts the woman or not, the men don’t care’
- Legal prostitution in Europe: the shady facade of human trafficking
- What we know about men who buy sex
- What the johns don’t want to hear
- Do men have a right to prostitutes?
- Why men use prostitutes
- Nobody’s entitled to sex, including disabled people
- Let’s talk about his choices
We are being told there was a full unbiased consultation process before pushing this policy through, but there wasn’t. Women’s organisations and survivor organisations worldwide were ignored. The below open letter by CATW, 17 July 2015, with over 400 signatories, was also dismissed by AI.
Dear Mr. Shetty, Mr. Hawkins and the Amnesty International Board of Directors: We write to you in light of Amnesty International’s “Draft Policy on Sex Work” to be reportedly submitted for consideration at its International Council Meeting in Dublin, from 7-11 August 2015 and which endorses the full decriminalization of the sex industry.1 The signatories below represent a wide breadth of national and international human rights advocates, women’s rights organizations, faith-based and secular organizations and concerned individuals, deeply troubled by Amnesty’s proposal to adopt a policy that calls for the decriminalization of pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sex — the pillars of a $99 billion global sex industry.2 Most importantly, the signers include courageous survivors of the sex trade whose authority of experience informs us about the inescapable harms the sex trade inflicted on them and guides us toward finding meaningful solutions toward ending these human rights violations.” Read full open letter and list of signatories here.
We would assume AI weighed up the major fails of countries that have full decriminalisation of the sex industry, like Germany, with mega-brothels and increased human trafficking, against the success of countries that have adopted the Nordic model of prostitution, like Iceland and Sweden, who are now world leaders in gender equality. They didn’t. The Swedish branch of AI publicly condemned AI’s leaked 2014 draft policy to decriminalise all aspects of ‘sex work’, pushing instead for the Nordic model of prostitution. They too were ignored.
Not surprising though, when we learn AI’s 2014 leaked draft policy was born out of consultations with known pimp Douglas Fox, UK. You can read the history of ‘sex worker’ unions and Douglas Fox’s involvement by Julie Bindel here. See also Who does the <International Union of Sex Workers> really represent?
“Escort agency manager, Douglas Fox, has claimed the credit for the policy’s development and advancement throughout the organisation. Fox manages one of the biggest escort agencies in the UK, along with his male partner. Fox has held leadership positions in Amnesty International, with an agenda of decriminalising prostitution.
While escort agency managers have been given a voice by the international secretariat of Amnesty, survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking say they have been ignored by Amnesty’s international leadership.” Read more by Abolish Prostitution HERE
@InvisibleChoice asks AI, “How confident are you that the “sex worker” orgs you
consulted aren’t bankrolled by johns + pimps?” Referencing above screenshot
from Niassembly committee minutes of evidence, session 2013-2014, Human
Trafficking and Exploitation (further provisions and support for victims) Bill: international-union-of-sex Workers
‘Sex Work’- The Dignity Of Men; Call it what it is, it’s prostitution – “The rhetoric around prostitution being an industry of stigma and shame for the prostituted relies entirely on making sure men do not look bad. Men are shamed only by association and proximity to the prostituted person rather than their creation and ongoing demand for us.
They use us because we are there, and they want to feel dignified in doing so.
There is no cognizance by the general public that men put us there. There is no cognizance of who benefits from us being there. There is no cognizance of who created the situation of us being there.
The rhetoric used to sanitise prostitution as ‘empowering’, ‘sex work’ and worthy of a status of ‘dignity’ exists entirely to make the men who exploits us look non-exploitative. The pimp lobby know the primary function of the term ‘sex ‘work’ is to benefit and further the sex trade (i.e men’s ‘right’ to buy us for sex and to profit from it.)”
* There would be no sex slavery industry selling women and girls if there was no male demand;
- Legalising prostitution has been a failed Experiment;
- Why is paying for sex legal in so many countries? Because the laws are made by men
- Sweden’s prostitution solution. Why hasn’t anyone tried this before?
- Feminist opposition to the sex industry has little to do with women’s ‘choices’
- Being and Being Bought: An interview with Kajsa Ekis Ekman
- Pornography is a specific type of prostitution, in which prostitution occurs and is documented.
- Not just harmless Fun: The strip club industry in Victoria
- Prostitution research and education Melissa Farley
- Open letter in support of adopting the Nordic model in Canada garners over 800 signatures
- What the media won’t tell you about Bill C-36 (Prostitution in Canada)
- It’s time to get serious about sex trafficking in Australia
- Sex slavery in Australia
AI do acknowledge “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse…” but not by whom. The men who buy and sell them.
* Trauma and Prostitution
* Trauma, Violence and PTSD from prostitution
* Prostitution, violence, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – In 1998, 88% of women asked wanted to leave prostitution.
* Prostitution: The human being dehumanized
* Indigenous women and girls
* Mortality in a Long-term Open Cohort of Prostitute Women
On 11/08/2015 AI celebrated passing their new policy on ‘sex work’, giving full impunity to pimps and johns, after delegates from 80 countries voted to decriminalise all aspects of ‘sex work’ in Ireland, #SoProud;
“Amnesty cracks champagne in celebration of johns: …At its root, prostitution is about exploitation — that is, a scenario wherein a man pays a desperate and/or marginalized woman to provide him with sexual services because she has no other choice. The very idea of prostitution is one that says women are not fully human, that they are things that men have the right to use and abuse, that men’s sexual pleasure is more important than women’s humanity. The relationship between a john and a woman he buys is not one of equality — he is, in fact, paying for the right not to respect her.
It is not possible to legalize the purchase of sex while ensuring prostituted women are protected from exploitation, trafficking and violence. The industry requires exploitation and violence is inherent to the system of prostitution. The system is violent. It is exploitative. It is about male abuse of female bodies. Prostitution is harm.
What Amnesty has left out of their statement is women’s rights, as well as an analysis of how poverty and racism make poor women of colour particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
In fact, they didn’t mention women at all. Meghan Murphy – Feminist Current
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.
Members quitting/cancelling membership with AI due to their 2015 ‘sex work’ policy:
* 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 Centre chief 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.”
Countries with full decriminalisation of ‘sex work’, with lax laws/enforcement, or who prosecute prostituted persons.
* To legalise or not to legalise 2014. Julie Bindel’s extensive research shows the harsh realities for women and children in countries around the world with full decriminalisation, as well as the success of countries who have adopted the Nordic approach.
“If full decriminalization would protect the women in British Columbia from this man, why did he celebrate when he thought the entire industry would be decriminalized?
“I guess I should ready the Trickmachine [his car] for an awesome cruisin’ season. It’s legal to pick up Ho’s on the streets now, Yahoo!”” by A Trick Of The Trade: If full decriminalization will protect women in prostitution from these men… why do these men want it?
* Australia – Full decriminalisation/legalisation has increased sex trafficking;
– 1st Sept 2015; Sexual slavery, forced drug-taking in NSW brothels on the rise: police
– The secret world of Melbourne’s sex trade
–Trafficked women ‘forced’ into brothels
– Legal brothels linked to international sex trafficking rings (Video, transcript and related videos)
– Flesh trade – interview with Commander Chris McDevitt, AFP Human Trafficking Unit. (Video)
– Women used as sex slaves in Melbourne and Sydney
– Sex slavery
– It’s time to get serious about sex trafficking in Australia – Legalising prostitution has not made the women working safer.
– A Submission from the Australian Federation for the Family Against the Legalisation of Houses of Prostitution in Tasmania.
– Prostitution and trafficking.
– Legalising prostitution is not the answer: The example of Victoria, Australia.
– 10 Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution.
– Global trafficking in women.
– Australia remains a destination for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking
* New Zealand 2013 – “10 years after full decrim: Former prostitutes and their advocates are calling for clients of sex workers to be prosecuted, saying the decriminalisation of the industry has failed them. Freedom from Sexual Exploitation director Elizabeth Subritzky told Parliament’s justice and electoral committee the only solution to the damage that prostitution caused, and the violence it created, was to prosecute buyers of sexual services through a reform of prostitution laws.”
“The Prostitution Reform Act decriminalised brothels, escort agencies, and soliciting when it narrowly passed into law by one vote in 2003. The act not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor women in New Zealand, Subritzky said.”
* New Zealand – Published the same day AI celebrated their 2015 policy on “sex work” with champagne; “When the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 came into force, it was assumed street prostitution would diminish and sex workers would be safer but this has not happened. Instead, street prostitution has increased causing distress to residents in certain areas of Christchurch and Auckland. New Zealanders should be able to enjoy living in safe neighbourhoods, but at the moment there is crime, anti-social behaviour and noise, unsavoury and unhygienic waste. Street-based sex workers remain in danger of violence despite promises the Act would improve their safety. Street prostitution remains the main gateway for underage prostitution.”
* Netherlands – Sweden versus amsterdam “After legalisation the illegal forms of prostitution increased spectacularly and, contrary to expectations, human trafficking did not decrease – not even to the official brothels supervised by the state. The police themselves have had to admit in their report that despite earlier positive news, the approach isn’t working(11):
It’s an illusion to think a normal, clean industry has been created. In the legal window prostitution of Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Utrecht human traffickers, pimps and body-guards have had free rein for years. (our translation)
They estimate that between 50% and 90% of women working in legal brothels arrived there via trafficking.
* Amsterdam – “Pimps, under legalisation, have been reclassified as managers and businessmen. Abuse suffered by the women is now called an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe. Sex tourism has grown faster in Amsterdam than the regular type of tourism: as the city became the brothel of Europe, women have been imported by traffickers from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia to meet the demand. In other words, the pimps remained but became legit — violence was still prevalent but part of the job, and trafficking increased. Support for the women to leave prostitution became almost nonexistent. The innate murkiness of the job has not been washed away by legal benediction.”
* Germany – “Germany legalised prostitution in 2002, aiming to bring the industry out of the shadows… Germany has become the sex capital of Europe, and the number of prostitutes has doubled to 400,000, with some estimates suggesting 90 per cent are coerced into the trade.”
* Germany – “Since 2002, when prostitution was fully legalized in Germany, at least 55 prostitutes were murdered by clients or by persons from the milieu, and there have been at least 30 attempted murders. Countless other acts of male violence against women (out of jealousy, etc.) up to and including murders and murder attempts have not been taken into consideration. Since 1999, there has been ONE single case of murder of a prostitute in Sweden – the tragic death of « Petite Jasmine », which has been very much exploited by the sex lobby, even if she was neither killed by a john or a pimp.”
* Germany – CATW International: “IK: Today, approximately 90 percent of prostituted women in Germany come from the poorest European countries, especially Bulgaria and Romania. Most of these women don’t speak German and don’t know their rights. The reality looks like this: For its opening weekend, the Pussyclub brothel chain in Stuttgart, offered beer, bratwurst and an unlimited number of women for a flat rate of 69 Euros. Close to two thousand sex buyers were expected that night. The women, mainly Romanian, broke down crying realizing they would have to cope with so many men. Some brothels now have menus.
Q: What is a “brothel menu”?
IK: Since the law destroyed any questioning of the harm in men buying women for sex, the acts are becoming increasingly dangerous, violent and degrading. Buyers pick from a long list of sexual acts, most of which could easily be defined as torture. They are too graphic to describe here, but for example you can order a “sandwich” (two men and a woman), “blood sports” (involving cutting the woman) or myriad “à la carte” selections involving urination, ejaculation, defecation or worse inflicted on women. The brothels have “gang-bang” floors if a man wants to bring his friends and nudist floors where all women wear are stiletto heels. Even Ellen Templin, a well-known dominatrix and brothel owner in Berlin, says that before the 2002 law she sold sexual services to men, but since the law, she has to sell sexual violence. These acts cause extremely deep, enduring and traumatizing harm to the women.” Petition calling for the repeal of German prostitution law
* Germany – Prostitution in Germany, Detective Superintendent Helmut Sporer’s Speech at the Seminar “Reality of Prostitution”, European Women´s Lobby, 2013 in Brussels – “The new Prostitution Act of 2002 turned the same actions, the very same rules set by brotheloperators and pimps, from punishable offences into legal practices – overnight. The new law gave them a “right of direction” (Weisungsrecht) over the women in prostitution. They can now legally give orders to the women. Only the worst kinds of orders, e.g. that awoman has to engage in specific sexual practices with a specific punter, remain illegal.Practically all other forms of influence are well within the limits of this law. They are now part ofthe right of direction exerted by those who run the brothel. The women are no longer sufficientlyprotected from these people, and for legal reasons, the police can no longer intervene. This is avery difficult situation for us.”
* Manila – “While prostitution is technically illegal in the Philippines, that is only on paper. It is openly practiced and even encouraged by the local government leaders who issue permits and licenses to the bars and brothels and the criminal aspect of abuse and exploitation is totally ignored. It is, in practice, decriminalized.
What have we got as a result of ignoring the woman abuse and not enforcing the law? We have one whopping big sex tourist industry all over the country where thousands of young girls are forever made sex-slaves in bars and brothels on street corners and in houses of prostitution. They are doomed to a life of being less than human.
They are controlled, used and abused for the sexual gratification of the rich and well off. They are treated like sex machine for the pimps, brothel operators and their foreign and local customers. The Philippines authorities, especially the church going ones and long silent church leaders, have the reputation of being the white painted sepulchers of society. The policy declaration of Amnesty International will play directly in their hands.”
* India – “Each year in India tens of thousands of girls go missing in a country where an estimated 1.2 million children work in the sex industry. Many are abducted by commercial sex traffickers and forced into prostitution. Missing, a nationwide public art project launched by the artist Leena Kejriwal as a memorial to victims of sexual slavery.”
* USA – FBI 2013 – “In 2010 the Anaheim Police Department (APD) vice detail in Orange County, California, realized that most of the prostitutes it had contact with came from similar backgrounds. Analysis of their common circumstances and reasons for prostituting caused investigators to believe that they were sex trafficking victims. Human trafficking is using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, obtain, or provide a person for sexual exploitation. This shift in perspective produced an innovative approach to addressing the problem.
In over 100 arrests, most of the women expressed that prostitution was not their career of choice. In a 1998 study, 88 percent of the prostituted women surveyed stated that they wanted to leave the sex trade industry.1 The majority of prostitutes interviewed by APD vice investigators believed that selling themselves was their only alternative for survival. Further investigation showed that these women shared similar circumstances that led them to prostitution. Many came from dysfunctional homes, had few friends or family members who cared about them, and were drug addicts or alcoholics. Arrest and contact data indicated that most of these women were between 18 and 29 years old. Unfortunate situations and poor choices made them vulnerable.”
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 religions.We 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”…
…We are kept out of school, sold into child marriage, domestic servitude and child labour and then finally pimped into prostitution. In prostitution we live in debt bondage, with our debt increasing, not our income as we move into our twenties. We are finally thrown out when we are in our thirties and no longer commercially viable. Our old pension is disease, trauma and the multiple wounds due to the violence done to our bodies by pimps and clients. The pimps beat us when we say no to standing for long hours on the street, or don’t want additional customers in the same night. The customers are buying violence -they stub cigarette butts out on us, push rods into our bodies, slap us, piss on us, break our arms and punch us… In the guise of protecting our rights from police harassment and detention, your resolution is giving impunity to our imprisoners.”
* 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 together.This 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 the Universal 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 that background 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.”
- Jason Unruhe – Amnesty international’s pro-paid rape support; Video above: August 13, 2015 –
- The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) organized the first panel of solely survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations, 2013, video above.
- Mia De Faoite speaks at Ruhama‘s Pathways through Prostitution seminar 2013; video above.
- Project Respect Australia – Reaching out to sex workers, video and transcript, Lateline ABC, interview by Emma Alberici, 13/3/2015
- Jules Kim, migration project manager for Scarlet Alliance, the peak body for sex workers Australia – Reaching out to sex workers, video and transcript, Lateline ABC, interview by Emma Alberici, 13/3/2015
Calls to action
* Petitions – please sign and share;
- Amnesty international listen to survivors reject the proposal to decriminalize all aspects of prostitution
- Amnesty international vote no to decriminalizing pimps, brothel owners, and buyers of sex
- Southern poverty law center designate amnesty international as men’s rights extremists?
- Petition calling for the repeal of German prostitution law
* Amnesty Action is a coalition of women’s group and individuals opposed to Amnesty International’s policy of full decriminalisation of the sex industry… We’re collecting statements by women and human rights organisations, news articles, subversive art and blogs in any language to add to our website! You can submit through the form below. Please tell us if you own the copyright to the blog/ article and if we can republish it in its entirety.
Please join us on October 23 for the No Amnesty Global Day of Online Action sharing blogs, news articles, testimonies and subversive art raising awareness of Amnesty’s decision to support the rights of pimps, managers, and traffickers over the safety of women and children!
- Please support groups that provide for and advocate for what women in prostitution tell us they want: EXIT SERVICES and ABOLITIONIST POLICY. Here are just a few of many groups who need your support; by Prostitution Research and Education
Shitty/Shetty graphic ^ by Alena Nikole
Kathleen Barry – Now this is our time to SEIZE THE MOMENT. “Here is what I propose: We defeat Amnesty by building global actions that will introduce the Nordic model in every state, every municipality that we can reach. We will win human rights for women every time the Nordic model is adopted. We desperately need buyers arrested, fined and jailed in developing countries. We must extend the Nordic model to every part of the globe. Every moment we engage developing countries in changing their laws to protect women not buyers, every time we gain support for women in poverty where misogyny drives masses of desperate women into the sex industries, every time a buyer of women’s bodies for sexual use and abuse is held to account we will have won against Amnesty, but more importantly, women’s rights to human dignity and peace will expand exponentially.”
“But even winning the Nordic model in state after state is not enough. Amnesty International and the sex industries have severely eroded universal human rights in their promotion of prostitution. Feminists, by contrast, are working to expand human rights for women. The Convention Against Sexual Exploitation is a draft United Nations treaty which would make all forms of sexual exploitation — including prostitution and pornography — a violation of human rights, would contest the power men exert through their sexual control and domination of women, would require protection for women in the migrating process, and calls for state funding for support programs for survivors.”
“In addition, Linda MacDonald and Jeanne Sarson have formulated a human rights model for non-state torture. Instead of confining guarantees of human rights protections only to victims of state torture, in their approach to United Nations human rights law, prostitution and all forms of violence against women would be considered “non-state torture.”
Mounting a global campaign to make sexual exploitation a violation of human rights would give strength and support to state campaigns to bring down the heinous legalization of prostitution which India and other less developed countries are considering. Former President Jimmy Carter also speaks to the need for this Convention and calls upon the United Nations to adopt it. Under the direction and with the human rights commitment of the Carter Center’s Karin Ryan, a meeting of activists adopted these recommendations at a May 2015 World Summit: Ending Sexual Exploitation 2025 which supports the Convention Against Sexual Exploitation.” Read more HERE. Kathleen Barry, Professor Emerita is the author of Female Sexual Slavery and The Prostitution of Sexuality: the Global Exploitation of Women, cofounder of CATW, and originator of the Convention Against Sexual Exploitation also working against militarized masculinity inUnmaking War, Remaking Men. Find her online: kathleenbarry.net
“I know there are some advocates who argue that women in prostitution sell sex as consenting adults. But those who do are a relatively privileged minority – primarily white, middle class, Western women in escort agencies – not remotely representative of the global majority. Their right to sell doesn’t trump my right and others’ not to be sold in a trade that preys on women already marginalized by class and race”. Buying sex should not be legal, Rachel Moran, August 28 2015
- Janice G. Raymond Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW): Not a choice, Not a job, Exposing the myths about prostitution and the global sex trade – “If women really choose prostitution, why is it mostly marginalized and disadvantaged women who do? If we want to discuss the issue of choice, let’s look at who is doing the actual choosing in the context of prostitution. Surely the issue is not why women allegedly choose to be in prostitution, but why men choose to buy the bodies of millions of women and children worldwide and call it sex. Philosophically, the response to the choice debate is ‘not’ to deny that women are capable of choosing within contexts of powerlessness, but to question how much real value, worth, and power these so-called choices confer.”
- Men’s rights activists advocate for ‘human rights’ with rape and death threats
- NGOs: the best pr and spin doctors that (sex industry) money can buy
- Kajsa Ekis Ekman: EU Project Hijacked by The Prostitution Lobby
- Amnesty International: The high cost of human rights activism and charity
- The Amnesty challenge
- Why we shouldn’t rebrand prostitution as “sex work”
- Sex trafficking: Lifelong struggle of exploited children
- The Beloved John
- The Stream discusses Amnesty International’s new prostitution policy – Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current.
If you are a woman inside the prostitution industry in Australia and:
– you need support, contact: Project Respect
– you want to leave prostitution, contact: Project Respect
– you want to report a rape, assault, coercion, grooming, contact the:
- Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 010 120, 7:30am to midnight daily, or
- 1800 Respect 1800 737 732, 24 hour sexual assault and domestic violence support
– you need legal services and do not have access to Legal Aid, contact: Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre, Inc.
RILC provides free and full legal services to trafficking victims in Australia.
If you are a woman who has exited prostitution and:
– you need support, contact: Project Respect
– you need to talk to a counselor, call 1800 737 732, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are feeling unsafe right NOW, call 000