In August, Amnesty International made a u-turn in terms of protecting the rights of women and girls around the world with their policy decision to endorse the decriminalization of prostitution and all aspects of the sex trade – despite the global outcry of women’s rights organizations.

Along with several survivors, organizations, and the European Women’s Lobby, the Swedish Women’s Lobby calls out Amnesty International to no longer stand for human rights as the global organization now stands behind the trade of humans.

Julie Bindel, who exposed the internal plan of Amnesty to campaign for the decriminalization of the sex trade and forced the organization to oversee their decision, writes that some women inside the organization were unable to convince men within Amnesty that decriminalization of the sex trade would harm women in prostitution. She writes,

“The right of men to buy sex appears to be paramount according to Amnesty.”

Amnesty International has addressed the critique by stating that through decriminalizing the sex trade, they will be able to support the health and rights of sex workers who no longer would be forced to go under ground to do their work.

There are several serious concerns about Amnesty’s approach to the sex trade. Amnesty’s policy to decriminalize the sex trade…

  • promotes impunity for those who financially and sexually exploit women, making it close to impossible to hold any traffickers, pimps or purchasers accountable.
  • leads to an increase in trafficking of human beings. This has already happened in states that decriminalized procuring of prostitution (Germany and Netherlands).
  • legitimizes a patriarchal structure that makes women’s bodies available for men’s sexual use.

Furthermore, this decision by Amnesty International takes a strong turn against many existing and established women’s groups and human rights organizations at the local and international levels that work against all forms of sexual violence, including rape, trafficking, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Here are a few things you can do today:

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