Photo: Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
On August 11, Amnesty International passed a resolution calling for the full decriminalization of prostitution. The organization adopted this position on the grounds that decriminalization will make life safer for people in prostitution, but this is misguided thinking.
Full decriminalization of the sex trade, which could include lessening or removing legal penalties against sex buyers, pimps, and brothel owners, will not make prostitution any less damaging. In fact, it only serves to increase the demand for paid sex and normalize a harmful practice in which someone with power and privilege can freely buy sexual access to a more vulnerable person.
Later this month, Amnesty International’s board will meet to draft an official stance on the issue. There’s still an opportunity to engage board members and encourage them to create a policy that advocates for the decriminalization of those sold in the sex trade, but does not provide the same protection for their exploiters—sex buyers, pimps, and brothel owners.
Together, we can make a difference
Read this blog post on why Amnesty’s position is dangerous, and listen to this powerful radio interview with author, activist, and sex trade survivor Rachel Moran for a more nuanced understanding of the issue. (For more articles on this subject, click here.)
Spread awareness about what’s happening. Circulate articles decrying Amnesty’s support of total decriminalization with friends and on social media. Tweet @Amnesty using hashtag #NoAmnesty4Pimps, and ask them to create a policy that protects those sold for sex; not their exploiters.
Voice your concerns about this ill-advised policy directly to Amnesty officials. Contact local Amnesty delegates at firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 807-8400 and (202) 544-0200. Reach out directly to the International Board at email@example.com and tell them you support decriminalization of the sex trade’s victims, but not sex buyers, pimps, and brothel owners—they should be held accountable for fueling this harmful industry.