Amnesty International is campaigning to recognize prostitution as a human right. The London-based human rights organization usually gets backing from millions of people, including high-profile American citizens.
However, Amnesty’s controversial Draft Policy on Sex Work proposal that argues for the decriminalization of prostitution is not received well by a large number of people throughout the world.
An excerpt from the draft policy is as follows.
“Consensual sexual conduct between adults, which excluded acts that involve coercion, deception, threats, or violence, is entitled to protection from state interference.”
The organization adds that banning the sex trade will ultimately lead to “increasing harassment of and violence against sex workers.”
Amnesty’s offers their stance on prostitution in their proposal.
“By definition, sex work means that sex workers who are engaging in commercial sex have consented to do so.”
Amnesty International provided this statement to RT.
“[Sex workers are] one of the most marginalized groups in the world, so it is important that we understand, as Amnesty International, we can support their human rights. This is a divisive, sensitive, and complex issue and it is important that we get it right. No policy has been adopted by Amnesty International and it is not possible to speculate about the eventual income of the vote.”
RT reports Amnesty International has been gathering evidence from United Nations agencies and interviewing sex workers around the world in order to come up with the best way to regulate the industry.
Amnesty cites that outlawing sex work, directly or indirectly, discriminates against prostitutes and forces them to perform their work in more dangerous and threatening conditions.
In an interview with RT, Northern Irish sex worker Emily Major, a woman who financially depends on her trade, says criminalizing the sex trade will only “put vulnerable sex workers in danger. I myself love sex and above all enjoy being in control of my own life, my work hours and what I actually do.”
Ms. Major adds that criminalizing the trade will only “cause the industry to go underground and make women do unsafe things to ensure they get that extra bit of business.”
Amnesty’s draft policy supports Major’s claim.
“The violations that sex workers can be exposed to include physical and sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion and harassment, human trafficking, forced HIV testing and medical interventions. They can also be excluded from health care and housing services and other social and legal protection.”
Political campaigner and sex worker Charlotte Rose expressed her view on human rights to RT.
“It’s the human right to earn a living, and if the activities are consensual and do not harm a third party, no one has the right to stick there ore in.”
The Guardian‘s coverage of this issue says former United States president Jimmy Carter, a man who made human rights a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy, has started an online petition urging Amnesty International not to endorse commercial sexual exploitation as a right.
Amnesty will formally submit their report in Ireland next month, at an Amnesty International meeting.
[Featured image via Youth Connect]