Amnesty branches vote down sex industry pro-prostitution agenda

Statements from NORMAC and Abolish Prostitution Now following Amnesty state AGMs on weekend


Media Release 10/05/2014


A resolution has been passed today by Amnesty branches in Tasmania and Queensland which advocates for an abolitionist approach to prostitution.

This decision conflicts with the position proposed by the international secretariat in support of a legalised sex industry with little government interference into the buying and selling of sex and with no recognition of those who are harmed in the industry.

Former anti-discrimination commissioner Dr Jocelynne Scutt stated her concern for the direction of Amnesty in proposing support for the sex industry. “Concerted action on a global level needs to be taken by all countries working cooperatively to end the slave trade, prostitution, and buying women and girls by whatever means – whether prostitution, slavery or marriages.”

Several Amnesty members who attended the Tasmanian branch AGM said that Amnesty had not consulted with Survivor Groups in the development of their sex laws proposals nor had they acknowledged the growing body of evidence that legalisation has been a failed experiment in all countries where it has been adopted, especially in Holland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

International Survivors Group Abolish Prostitution Now has stated:

If Amnesty International succeeds in its pimp- and pro-prostitution lobby-inspired stance of decriminalizing all aspects of prostitution, that will be almost the end of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as we know and understand it. They will not have brought it down alone, there have been other forces undermining the foundation of global human rights, but the impact of AI to decriminalize and remain the leading human rights NGO of the UN cannot be underestimated. The concept of Human Rights, and of Human Dignity as universal, inalienable and shared by all equally will be replaced by the idea of “dignity” being a marketable, individual stance that is at all times subject to market forces. Safeguarding human rights – and the rights of marginalized and disadvantaged groups like women and girls – will no longer happen from the standpoint of their inalienable rights, but merely from the point of view of improving their sales opportunities.

This is unacceptable. It means giving free reign to those in power, that is those with money. Just as decriminalizing all aspects of prostitution basically means giving free reign to pimps, traffickers, brothel owners and punters. The question will no longer be – how can women and girls (and boys and men) be kept out of prostitution, which we know to be devastating – but: How can we devise ways to make prostitution sound good, and to let those in prostitution keep a fraction of the money that is being passed around among powerful men? This is not Human Rights.

“NORMAC fully endorses this statement by Abolish Prostitution Now and considers that if Amnesty does not develop a contemporary and informed policy framework on the issues of exploitation of persons in the sex industry, the outcome will be dire both for their membership and for their standing as a peak human rights group.” said Matthew Holloway

For further information contact Spokesperson: Matthew Holloway 


Abolish Prostitution Now

Media Release

Amnesty’s Prostitution Policy Sparks Dissent in Australia

  • Members of Amnesty International Australia vote against International Secretariat’s plans to decriminalise pimps and buyers of sex.
  • Pimp admits involvement in policy’s development.
  • Jimmy Carter speaks in support of the Nordic Model in opposition to decriminalising pimps and prostitution buyers.

Amnesty International’s proposed policy to decriminalise pimps and buyers met with opposition at Australian Amnesty state Annual General Meetings on the weekend.

The proposed policy was raised at Amnesty state level AGMs around Australia Saturday May 10, with dissent from Amnesty members. Amnesty Queensland and Amnesty Tasmania voted against the draft policy. Members voted instead to adopt the Nordic Model of prostitution, which decriminalises prostituted people, while at the same time criminalises pimps, traffickers and buyers. WA members voted in favour of a new process, which would involve seeking input from those who have survived sex industry violence. There was rigorous debate on the issue in other states.

Former president of the United States and human rights champion, Jimmy Carter, is the latest big name to speak out against the proposal. In an interview with Robin Morgan, Carter said ‘it’s inconceivable to me that Amnesty International, or any other organisation that respects human rights, would endorse slave masters’.

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.

The Swedish branch of Amnesty International has also taken a stand against the decriminalisation of pimps and buyers of prostitution.

The consultation on the draft policy on decriminalisation of pimps and buyers of sex was initially slated to be resolved at the International AGM in June. However, due to strong opposition internationally from prostitution survivors, Amnesty members and other human rights organisations, Amnesty International had pushed back the decision until August 2015.

Sunday May 11, 2014

Dr. Caroline Norma
Caitlin Roper

Why are we forced to fund Scarlet Alliance?


Media Release

4 May 2014

Minister must withdraw funding from Scarlet Alliance

The Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NORMAC) has written to the federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, calling on him to withdraw $360 000 in funding provided to the Scarlet Alliance to assist with the detection and prevention of human trafficking and slavery.

NORMAC has asked Minister Keenan to re-allocate the Scarlet Alliance’s funding to other groups who will also receive funding for this purpose, including Anti-Slavery Australia, Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) and Project Respect.

Spokesperson Matthew Holloway said, “Whilst we fully support the intent of this funding, NORMAC is concerned that tax payer dollars are going to an organisation that promotes an effectively unregulated industry, with the only constraints on its operation being the planning approvals that would apply to any other business.”

“Project Respect is better situated to utilise additional funding as they do a lot of on-the-ground work assisting and supporting people trapped in prostitution towards meaningful careers and employment outside the sex industry.”

Lecturer in public policy Dr Mary Louise Sullivan has stated that:

“The Scarlet Alliance presents itself as the peak sex worker’ association in Australia and is a major defender of the pro-prostitution position. Indeed the Associations membership requires that those who join must agree to its objectives. Members must acknowledge that sex work is a legitimate occupation. Moreover they must be actively promoting the right to work… including street, brothel, and escort, private and opportunistic work. The Scarlet Alliance undisputedly opposes the development of exit strategies and programs for women who wish to leave the sex industry, particularly trafficked women.”

The 2004 report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission – ‘Inquiry into the trafficking of women for sexual servitude’ indicated it is generally accepted that approximately 300 women are trafficked into Australia each year for sex work whereas the Scarlet Alliance estimates only a low number of 10 trafficked women.

The Hon Mr Duncan Kerr observed that contract women who have been trafficked into Australia represent a continuum – from those who enter with full knowledge and consent; to those who enter with consent but are deceived as to conditions; to those who enter Australia completely deceived as to their work in the sex industry.

“NORMAC’s concern is that the Scarlet Alliance response fails to recognise that a number of people, specifically women, are trafficked into Australia under the false pretense of being offered legitimate work and instead become sexual slaves.”

“It would be irresponsible for the new Liberal government to continue down the path of providing any funding to the Scarlet Alliance as the organisation lacks the ability to impartially represent trafficked people and those in sexual slavery.”

“The Scarlet Alliance’s core beliefs and ideology seem deeply opposed to recognising the harm caused by prostitution to those involved in the sex industry. NORMAC believes this makes their organisation unfit to receive taxpayer funding when it would be more effectively used by other organisations who have a proven track record” said Matthew Holloway.

For further information contact: Matthew Holloway 

As published by Melinda Tankard Reist

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