It’s very interesting that the Guardian is only covering this now (it’s reporting on the sex industry is skewed anyway – and they still use the obfuscatory ‘sex work’, even when reporting on child victims of commercial sexual exploitation); it was absolutely silent on the matter at the beginning of last year, when it was being debated by AI UK for a vote at their 2014 AGM (a friend of mine speculates that the Guardian was too afraid of losing advertising revenue), but I guess it’s fashionable now, since there are big name celebrities getting involved.
A host of Hollywood stars, including Oscar-winning actors Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, have lent their support to a campaign demanding that Amnesty International reject a proposal to endorse the decriminalisation of the sex trade.
The global human rights group is set to review an internal policy document on sex work at a meeting in Dublin next month, according to the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).
If the policy is adopted, Amnesty would “in effect advocate the legalisation of pimping, brothel owning and sex buying – the pillars of a $99bn global sex industry“, CATW said.
Over 3,000 members of the public have signed the petition since it was posted on change.org last week, and it has been endorsed in a letter by women’s rights campaigners, former workers in the sex trade, and celebrities such as actors Emily Blunt, Lena Dunham and Anne Hathaway.
The letter, addressed to Amnesty’s secretary general, Salil Shetty; executive director Steven Hawkins, and the board of directors, says: “Every day, we combat male access to women’s bodies through power and control, from female genital mutilation to forced marriage; from domestic violence to violation of reproductive rights. The exchange of money for such access does not eliminate the violence women face in the sex trade …
“Amnesty’s reputation in upholding human rights for every individual would be severely and irreparably tarnished if it adopts a policy that sides with buyers of sex, pimps and other exploiters rather than with the exploited.”
US-based CATW said it agreed with Amnesty that sex workers should not be criminalised or brutalised by law enforcement agents and governments: “However, full decriminalisation of the sex trade renders pimps ‘businesspeople’ who sell vulnerable individuals, overwhelmingly with histories of poverty, discrimination, homelessness and sexual abuse, to buyers of sex with impunity.”