Survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking speak out against Amnesty's proposal to decriminalise pimping and purchasing women for sexual exploitation.
Five Reasons Why Amnesty International’s Resolution to Decriminalize the Sex Industry is a Deadly Mistake
Amnesty International (AI) will vote to deregulate the commercial sex industry worldwide at its International Council Meeting (ICM) in Dublin, Ireland, August 7-11. This will legitimize the sexual exploitation of millions of people, especially women and children. Amnesty’s “Draft Policy on Sex Work” endorses the decriminalization of pimping, brothels and purchasing of sex.
Herewith Five Reasons Why AI’s Resolution Should Not Be Passed or Supported:
1. In countries with legalized prostitution, sex trafficking increases.
A 2013 academic study, based on data from 150 countries, was published in ‘World Development. It concluded that legal prostitution increases human trafficking, as evidenced in Germany and The Netherlands, where prostitution was legalized and failed in terms of achieving its three goals to:
- Eliminate the criminal, underground sector from the sex industry;
- Make selling sex safe; and
- Redefine prostitution as a job like any other, with employment contracts. See ‘Der Spiegel article: “Unprotected: How Legalizing Prostitution has Failed.”
2. Amnesty claims that prostitution and sex trafficking are different phenomena, but they are intrinsically linked.
All victims of sex trafficking are trafficked into prostitution or the commercial sex industry. It’s impossible to prevent sex trafficking without addressing the commercial sex market, which is both highly criminal and lucrative.
3. Decriminalizing the commercial sex industry does not make it safe, because prostitution is inherently harmful, whether legal or illegal.
Prostitution is inherently dangerous, damaging and brutal. Research in nine countries, found 60-75% of prostituted women were raped; 70-95% experienced physically assault; and 68% suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, at levels similar to combat veterans or victims of state torture.
4. The sex trade is hugely profitable. The only way to prevent sexual exploitation and sex trafficking is to cut off the profit incentive i.e. reduce demand, not encourage it.
Buying or purchasing sex, fuels a criminal market that destroys people!
5. Amnesty International’s resolution does not address the successful ‘Nordic Model Law’, which sees commercial sex as a system of gender-based violence. In countries where it has been implemented the Nordic Model has led to a decrease in sex trafficking.
The Nordic Model offers the best means of addressing the reality of sexual exploitation, by criminalising the purchase of sex, but not the sale of sexual access. The law shifts criminal liability from people who are exploited, to those doing the exploiting! Pimping and running a brothel are also illegal. Governments also commit to addressing the needs of those exiting the sex trade, yet Amnesty’s resolution does not consider the gains and learnings of the Nordic Model.
23rd July, 2015