Nearly a year after Amnesty International’s International Council released a proposal on prostitution, which it calls “sex work,” the organization’s International Board issued its global policy calling on governments to decriminalize pimping, brothel-owning and sex-buying. As of May 26, 2016, Amnesty has officially adopted a framework that will shape its advocacy to stand with exploiters, not the exploited.
CATW, along with survivors of the sex trade and other women’s rights and human rights activists, will continue to urge Amnesty to reevaluate its policy. We maintain that this decision to legitimize the sex trade is a gross violation of human rights principles and international conventions. As we continue to oppose this devastating move, this petition will remain active until we succeed in reversing Amnesty’s policy to decriminalize the sex trade. Please continue to sign and share widely!
At its International Council Meeting to be held in Dublin, from 7–11 August 2015, Amnesty International will reportedly review an internal circular entitled “Draft Policy on Sex Work,” which endorses the full decriminalization of the sex industry, including the legalization of pimping, brothel owning and the buying of sex.
Medical professionals, the testimonies of survivors and extensive research all demonstrate that the sex industry is predicated on dehumanization, degradation and gender violence that can cause life-long physical and psychological harm to those exploited at the hands of pimps, traffickers and buyers of sex (or “johns”). Prostitution is a harmful practice steeped in gender and economic inequalities that leaves a devastating impact on those sold and exploited in the sex trade.
Please add your signature to this open letter, signed by more than 600 national and international women’s rights groups, leading survivors of the sex trade, human rights advocates, medical doctors, Hollywood actors and directors, fashion designers, faith-based leaders and concerned individuals from over 30 countries, urging Amnesty International not to adopt any policy that supports the full decriminalization of the sex industry. This would, in effect, strengthen the pillars of a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on the most marginalized and vulnerable populations for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) firmly believes and agrees with Amnesty that human beings bought and sold in the sex trade, who are mostly women, must not be criminalized in any jurisdiction by law enforcement or governments. However, what Amnesty’s “Draft Policy on Sex Work” proposes is in violation of long established human rights principles, and women’s rights in particular, including the right to live a life free of violence and with dignity.
Please join the signers of this petition and signal to Amnesty International that we must hold accountable those who prey on vulnerable individuals with histories of poverty, homelessness and sexual abuse and ensure that everyone has the fundamental right not to be bought and sold.