The human rights organization Amnesty International is drawing fire from other human rights activists for a new document it released favoring the “full decriminalization” of prostitution.
Amnesty, in the document, “calls for the decriminalization of sex work based on evidence that criminalization makes sex workers less safe, by preventing them from securing police protection and by providing impunity to abusers.”
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, or NCOSE, immediately denounced the policy as one that “ignores the brutal experiences of prostituted persons and empowers pimps, sex buyers, and sex traffickers.”
A gift to pimps
Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, said Amnesty’s new policy of advocating full decriminalization of prostitution “is a gift to pimps, sex buyers, and sex traffickers.”
Under Amnesty International’s “irresponsible policy,” pimps and other exploiters become mere “sex business operators” and “customers,” she said, while the sexual violence and abuse inherent to prostitution is normalized as a form of ‘work.'”
“By endorsing this policy, Amnesty International has undermined the human rights of persons in the sex trade, the majority of whom are females, and has advocated for impunity for perpetrators of sexploitation,” Hawkins said.
NCOSE teamed up with CitizenGo to create an online petition calling on Amnesty to both change its policy and to formally apologize to those exploited in the sex trade. More than 35,000 people have signed the petition in just a few days.
Decriminalized prostitution refers to the removal of laws criminalizing the sex trade. One form of decriminalization – commonly referred to as the Nordic model – targets only individuals involved in the selling of sex (i.e. prostituting persons); other forms of decriminalization may seek to decriminalize all parties involved in the provisioning, buying, and selling of sex.
Thus, “full” decriminalization refers to the repeal of laws pertaining to pimping, brothel keeping and sex buyers, as well as those who sell sex. This is what Amnesty is advocating, and by decriminalizing pimps and sex buyers, they are sanctioning the abuses experienced by those in prostitution, Hawkins said.
“Sexual exploitation should never be anybody’s ‘job,'” she said. “Decriminalization of prostitution in no way rectifies the conditions of inequality, abuse, violence and dehumanization, which animate all forms of prostitution – it tragically assents to them.
“Prostitution – sex for money or something of value – is not only itself a form of sexual coercion and exploitation, but also begets even more forms of sexual exploitation, like sex trafficking.”
Opening doors to exploitation of children
Dr. Judith Reisman, author of “Sexual Sabotage” and a frequent critic of the late sexologist Dr. Alfred Kinsey and the Kinsey Institute, whose research led to the sexual revolution, said she agrees Amnesty is making a devastating mistake.
“NCOSE is absolutely right,” she said. “Amnesty International’s position on decriminalizing prostitution will open the doors wide to international trafficking of women and children, boys and girls.”
To address the current and future trends, it’s imperative to look at the history that set the foundations for commercial sexual exploitation, she said.
“The 1989 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was the first formal foray into legalizing prostitution of children dressed up as child welfare and sexual rights,” Reisman said.
That view was picked up by the Kinsey Institute in 2014 in its status as a special consultant on sexual issues for the U.N.
“In this role, the Kinsey Institute has assigned itself the right to instruct the global population in normalizing every form of sexual activity,” Reisman said. “Big Pharma is a direct beneficiary of Kinsey’s promotion of sexual promiscuity by providing vaccines, chemical abortions, to name a few.”
Reisman co-authored an article in the Spring 2012 issue of Ave Maria International Law Journal with Mary McAlister and Paul Rondeau that addresses the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and its counterpart sex education material produced by UNESCO and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Here are some quotes from that article:
Article 16 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child says: children have a right to be free from “arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy. . .honour and reputation.”
Article 17: (Access to information; mass media): Children have the right to get information that is important to their health and well-being. .”
Article 15: [All children have access to] freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly. 2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights [if they are legal in that society].
“These Articles potentially criminalize parental efforts to protect their children from sexual abuse as children are seen as expressing their alleged sexual rights,” the authors write. “Thus, if prostitution is legal in a country, and if the age of consent is 13 or younger, then parental rights are largely eliminated and subordinate to that of bureaucrats and politicians who will permit children to be exposed to sexually explicit materials and vulnerable to being sexually violated by pedophiles and sex traffickers who woo and win the child’s trust.”
Notably, the United States has been criticized as not caring about children because it is the only country that has not ratified the Convention.
A 2012 study published in World Development found that countries with legalized prostitution are associated with higher human trafficking inflows than countries where prostitution is prohibited. This should not surprise us. Once the law sanctions an activity, demand for that activity increases, and men, women, and children are trafficked in order to meet that demand. And so, it’s quite probable that Amnesty’s new policy will actually increase both sex trafficking, and the sexual exploitation of individuals in prostitution in countries that implement their guidance.”
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is asking the public to email Amnesty International’s leaders to demand Amnesty change its policy on the full decriminalization of prostitution.
NCOSE is also encouraging the public to tweet @Amnesty using the hashtag: #NoAmnesty4Pimps. Amnesty International is a member of NCOSE’s 2016 Dirty Dozen List for its role as a significant contributor to the normalization of sexual exploitation.
National Center on Sexual Exploitation was founded in 1962 and is the leading national organization dedicated to opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse and addiction. NCOSE embraces a mission to defend human dignity and to advocate for the universal right of sexual justice, which is freedom from sexual exploitation, objectification and violence.