Amnesty International Votes In Favor Of Decriminalizing Sex Work

Today, Amnesty International voted in favor of decriminalizing sex work, recommending that the group adopt a policy to protect the human rights of sex workers.

The resolution recommends that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. The policy will also call on states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence.

Over the past two years, Amnesty International has conducted extensive research and consultation, specifically with those currently doing sex work, and arrived at the conclusion that full decriminalization is the best way “to lessen the risks and violations” faced by one of the most marginalized groups in the world.

This resolution was not without controversy however. A number of celebrities — including Lena Dunham, Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet — signed a petition against the resolution, their opposition seemingly based on the sex worker horror stories — some of which have turned out to be fabricated, ahem, Somaly Mam — and misleading data trotted out by anti-sex work blowhards like Nicholas Kristof. What the opposition fails to recognize is that the vast majority of sex workers enter the industry consensually and that the stigma, exploitation, discrimination and violence they face is the result of sex work being criminalized and pushed underground. Additionally, criminalization does not actually help to save those women and children who are victims of involuntary sex trafficking, and actively punishes those it claims to want to protect.

Whatever you may personally feel about sex work, and the various reasons why people become sex workers, the fact remains that if you are pro-choice, you should be pro-decriminalization. Amnesty International is not making a moral judgement — they have passed this resolution because after conducting extensive research and consultation, they have determined that it is the best possible way to keep sex workers safe and their rights as human beings protected. [Amnesty International]