Amnesty International and the Commercial Sex Industry

Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP
Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP

For many years Amnesty International has been a beacon of hope in their work to inform the world about torture and violence in many forms. I have been a donor for several years, but am putting future donations on hold prior to their international meeting in August, when they will vote to decriminalize prostitution. If passed, this would legitimize the sexual exploitation of hundreds of thousands of women. This cringe-worthy policy recommendation endorses the decriminalization of pimping, brothels and purchasing of sex.

SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment) offers five reasons why Amnesty’s resolution should not be supported:

  1. In countries with legalized prostitution, sex trafficking increases. Studies of data from several countries that have legalized prostitution showed that human trafficking increased. In Germany and the Netherlands, where prostitution was legalized, failure to achieve three goals of eliminating the underground sector of the sex industry, making sex safe, and redefining prostitution as a job like any other, failed.
  2. Amnesty claims that prostitution and sex trafficking are different phenomena, but they are intrinsically linked. The reality is that all victims of sex trafficking are trafficked into the commercial sex model. This is a very lucrative and criminal market.
  3. Amnesty believes that decriminalizing the commercial sex industry makes it safer.
    Whether legal or illegal, it is clearly harmful. SPACE stated that 75% of prostituted women were raped and nearly 70% suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  4. The only way to prevent sexual exploitation and sex trafficking is to cut off the profit
    incentive, not encourage it. Clearly, purchasing sex fuels the criminal market.
  5. The Amnesty resolution does not address the successful “Nordic Model Law,” which
    sees commercial sex as a system of gender-based violence. This shifts criminal liability from people who are exploited to those doing the exploiting.

While it may be true that some women in commercial sex may make an informed choice, and may have no history of family violence, they are in the minority. The overwhelming number of women, girls and boys have no choice.

Amnesty International needs to make a 180 degree turn to responsible decision making.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog