But use the law to drive down demand, say experts in public health and culture.
Benzene Aseel / Flickr
A vote at Amnesty International’s decision-making forum earlier this month has committed the human rights organization to promoting the full decriminalization of prostitution – a step, it claims, that will protect “sex workers” human rights and prevent trafficking and the exploitation of minors.
While such weighty authorities as the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies agree with Amnesty, women’s rights and anti-trafficking groups vehemently disagree. They say that coercion and abuse are inherent in prostitution and they want to see it abolished, following the approach of a Swedish law which prosecutes those who buy sex but not those who sell, the latter being helped to exit prostitution.
What is the best approach to this individual and social problem? For an independent view MercatorNet asked experts at the University of Navarre’s Institute for Culture and Society, who published their own report on the issue last year as part of the project Education of Human Affectivity and Sexuality. In the following interview Dr Jokin de Irala and Dr Cristina Lopez answer our questions.
DUBLIN — HERE in my city, earlier this month, Amnesty International’s international council endorsed a new policy calling for the decriminalization of the global sex trade. Its proponents argue that decriminalizing prostitution is the best way of protecting “the human rights of sex workers,” though the policy would apply equally to pimps, brothel-keepers and johns.
Amnesty’s stated aim is to remove the stigma from prostituted women, so that they will be less vulnerable to abuse by criminals operating in the shadows. The group is also calling on governments “to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence.”
The Amnesty vote comes in the context of a prolonged international debate about how to deal with prostitution and protect the interests of so-called sex workers. It is a debate in which I have a personal stake — and I believe Amnesty is making a historic mistake.
Why was Rentboy.com a federal crime-fighting priority?
A website on which male escorts advertise just got busted. The CEO of Rentboy.com and six of its employees have conspired to promote prostitution, according to an indictment unsealed by Kelly T. Currie, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Glenn Sorge, a Department of Homeland Security official; and William Bratton, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
Prostitution is illegal. And if the graphic criminal complaint can be trusted, there’s strong evidence that the site facilitated and encouraged prostitution.
On the other hand, having pondered how many man hours the Department of Homeland Security should spend trying to stop men paying other men for consensual sex, there’s a strong case can be made that the answer is “zero.” I find it hard to believe New Yorkers want the NYPD working this beat. And can’t federal prosecutors find more threatening conspiracies to thwart?
Even if this case didn’t represent a dubious use of scarce criminal-justice resources, I’d still argue that, in the end, it will leave the world a worse place than it is today.
A German prostitute, called Eve, waits for clients behind her window in the red light district of Amsterdam on December 8, 2008. Under a plan called Coalitions Project 2012, unveiled on December 6, 2008 by the city council, Amsterdam plans to halve the number of prostitution windows and cannabis-vending coffee shops in a revamp of its historic center aimed at curbing rising crime. Prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in 2000 AFP PHOTO/ANOEK DE GROOT (Photo credit should read ANOEK DE GROOT/AFP/Getty Images)
There is no argument fiercer in feminism than the argument about prostitution. Say you want to ban it and the libertarian feminists denounce you as a ‘whorephobe’. Say you want to legalise it, and radical feminists denounce you as the tool of the patriarchy.
Inevitably, Amnesty International felt it had to intervene. And, this week, with an equal inevitability, it plumped for the apparently left-wing position of decriminalisation. I say ‘apparently’ because many on the left disagree. My sister paper the Guardian made the telling point that Amnesty’s leftism concealed rich-world prejudices.
[Its]suggestion that the trade be decriminalised but not then regulated is particularly far off-beam. Since when did unregulated markets guarantee human rights? There is nothing intrinsically repugnant to human rights in sex work if you exclude violence, deceit and the exploitation of children. But these aren’t fringe phenomena. They are central parts of the trade in most places round the world. To take as normative the experience of protected western adults is a morally disabling form of privilege. Continue reading
– Prostitutes demonstrate for their rights in France. –
What would yesterday’s prisoners of conscience think of the right to sell oneself?
This weekend, delegates at an international conference of Amnesty International are due to vote on a proposal that Amnesty should advocate the full decriminalisation of prostitution. That’s right; the organisation founded to shame governments into releasing prisoners of conscience, might next week be lobbying states to remove the last shackles from a trade that most people still regard as shameful. And all in the name of human rights.
This drama is to play out in Dublin, the new world capital of sexual enlightenment, while from Hollywood and other benighted locations the protests of celebrities such as Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and 1960s feminist icon Gloria Steinem ring out in support of women’s groups that are appalled at this development. Continue reading
NEW YORK, August 7 (C-Fam) Two decades after the movie “Pretty Woman” glamorized prostitution, Hollywood stars are teaming up with ex-prostituted women to convince a human rights group not to advocate for legalizing prostitution.
Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, and Kate Winslet added their names to a letter opposing Amnesty International’s “Draft Policy on Sex Work.” Amnesty delegates will vote this week whether to advocate for decriminalizing the sex trade.
In a leaked policy paper, Amnesty argues that sexual expression is a primary need. The paper claims that prostitution helps people with disabilities to “express their sexuality” and “develop a stronger sense of self” and improve “their life enjoyment and dignity.” Government interference with “an adult’s strategy to have sex with another consenting adult” intrudes on “those individuals’ autonomy and health.” Continue reading
Trafficking in persons is an insult to human dignity and an assault on freedom. Whether we are talking about the sale of women and children by terrorists in the Middle East, the sex trafficking of girls lured from their homes in Central Europe, the exploitation of farm workers in North America, or the enslavement of fishermen in Southeast Asia, the victims of this crime each have a name. And they each have been robbed of their most basic human rights.
“Trafficking in persons,” “human trafficking,” and “modern slavery” have been used as umbrella terms for the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-386), as amended (TVPA), and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the Palermo Protocol) describe this compelled service using a number of different terms, including involuntary servitude, slavery or practices similar to slavery, debt bondage, and forced labor. Human trafficking can include, but does not require, movement. People may be considered trafficking victims regardless of whether they were born into a state of servitude, were exploited in their hometown, were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking. At the heart of this phenomenon is the traffickers’ goal of exploiting and enslaving their victims and the myriad coercive and deceptive practices they use to do so.
Here you have all the report in PDF formart … You can open or save.
Six men involved in a child sex ring in Buckinghamshire have been found guilty of abusing two schoolgirls on a “massive scale”.
Clockwise from top left: Vikram Singh, Akbari Khan, Asif Hussain, Mohammed Imran, Taimoor Khan and Arshad Jani were all found guilty.
The Old Bailey heard the abuse in Aylesbury went on for years and involved rape and child prostitution.
Eleven defendants faced trial, accused of 47 sexual offences between 2006 and 2012.
Four were cleared of any wrongdoing, while the jury could not reach a verdict on one of the men.
The six who have been convicted will be sentenced in September. Continue reading
Fishermen, shopkeepers and policemen were all drawn in, as participants or observers, to a multimillion-dollar people smuggling business.
SHAH PORIR DWIP, BANGLADESH — From his shop overlooking a pier on this island near the border with Myanmar, Mohammad Hossain watched the human smuggling business swell.
Over the years, the trickle gradually grew into an unending stream. The late-night flashes of light on the water, signaling that the coast was clear to launch boats, multiplied until they looked like summer lightning. That the boats were not carrying fish was an open secret here: One day, when a trawler sank on its way out, the water was littered with human bodies.
The people of Shah Porir Dwip — fishermen, shopkeepers, police officers and shadowy bosses — were all drawn in, as participants or concerned observers, to a multimillion-dollar people smuggling business that sent roots deep into this impoverished corner of Bangladesh.
The outside world came to know of the smuggling this spring, through a series of awful revelations. Shallow graves were discovered in makeshift camps in Thailand, near the Malaysian border, where smugglers abused and starved their captives, demanding as much as $3,000 from their families for their release. Boats were abandoned in the middle of the ocean, packed with people on the edge of starvation.
Here, there was neither horror nor surprise.