Amnesty International’s recent history of fast-tracking the decriminalisation of pimps and ‘johns’ has earned it’s reputation as devious, corrupt and sex trade infiltrated.
Last year, members drew attention to the appallingly bad consultation process that was used to garner support for the draft policy which was co-drafted by the pimp Douglas Fox.
At the 2014 National Annual General Meeting, both survivors of the sex trade and human rights activists, were treated equally appallingly when protesting their democratic right to present alternative resolutions to the policy .
Two board members of Amnesty International Australia in particular have drawn our attention and proved themselves allies of both the Scarlet Alliance and the Australian Sex Party (on paper the ASP is currently deregistered , but most certainly not defunct.)
Nothing has changed in Amnesty International’s behaviour as evidenced by this years NAGM outcome as you can see here:
To get to the title of this piece, here is the Amnesty International’s International Council’s REQUESTS to the International board in bold. The appropriate responses to each request from Amnesty Against Pimps and Buyers are in italics.
Policy calling for the Decriminalization of Sex Work
The International Council
REQUESTS the AI International Board to adopt a policy calling for the decriminalization of sex work, taking into account –
1. The harm reduction principle.
“Response:This is old school thinking that harm and oppression is inevitable and can be made ‘nicer’. For example, through providing condoms for trafficking and prostitution victims, rather than stopping their abuse.”
2. That states can impose legitimate restrictions on sex work, provided that such restrictions comply with international human rights law, in particular in that they must be for a legitimate purpose, provided by law, necessary for and proportionate to the legitimate aim sought to be achieved, and not discriminatory.
“Response: There is no ‘human rights law’ that awards sex buyers rights. Amnesty does not appear to know whether they support the decriminalisation or legalisation of the sex industry. In fact, they probably don’t care, as long as pimps and buyers have rights and no-one ‘discriminates’ against men who purchase or pimp women for sex.”
3. Amnesty International’s longstanding position that trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation should be criminalized as a matter of international law.
“Response:Trafficking is just one of many means of males with power getting women and girls into the sex trade, there are many more ways and ultimately we know that 68% of adult women in the sex trade, who are there by any means, not just trafficking, develop PTSD as a result of being prostituted.”
4. That any child involved in a commercial sex act is a victim of sexual exploitation, entitled to support, reparations, and remedies, in line with international human rights law, and that states must take all appropriate measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
“Response: Prostitution does not become less harmful on someone’s 18th birthday. All women/people in the sex trade need rights to be able to report men who prostitute them.”
5. The growing evidence that many individuals who engage in sex work do so due to socio-economic marginalization and limited choices, and that therefore Amnesty International should urge states to take appropriate measures to realize the social, economic and cultural rights of all people so that no person enters sex work against their will, and those who decide to undertake sex work should be able to leave if and when they choose.
“Response: No, this is victim blaming. Saying that the sex trade exists because of women making choices and because women are poor and marginalised relieves perpetrators of responsibility. The reality is that all people who are prostituted are bought by a john (buyer), and nearly always these perpetrators are male. It is because of the choices of these men and the demand they create that women/people are in prostitution. Of course, most of the time women are in desperate situations, and this fact makes the actions of perpetrators all the more exploitative. It means that men should be held to account and informed that they risk inflicting PTSD on the people they buy for sex. In addition, women should be able to report their johns anytime they want, it is not good enough to say that if a woman develops PTSD she should just leave the industry and it’s her responsibility. Men must be held to account, and the people being bought for sex must be decriminalised. This is the Nordic model solution. Any law that is passed impacts on all people in prostitution, including trafficked people and those who are suffering PTSD. What we know from evidence is that the industry grows where we have decriminalised or legalised buyers and pimps. These approaches will always expand the abuse, there is no way to avoid that.”
6. The obligation of states to protect every individual in their jurisdiction from discriminatory policies, laws and practices, given that the status and experience of being discriminated against are themselves often key factors in what leads people into sex work.
“Response: Hang on a minute, johns and pimps deserve to be discriminated against and held to account!”[m]
7. The evidence from Amnesty International’s research on the actual, lived, human impact of various criminal law and regulatory approaches to the human rights of sex workers.
“Response:This seems rather preemptive, given that AI has not commenced, let alone finished, any form of objective ‘research’ yet!”
“The Amnesty Members Against Sex Trade Pimps and Buyers group, which includes sex trade survivors, will be organising a conference in Australia at the end of the year to reclaim Amnesty International Australia as a real human rights organisation, to express our outrage towards the infiltration of our organisation by pimps and sex trade apologists. We will develop our own policy platform on prostitution, which we will commend to all Amnesty members across the world. Please get involved by contacting (add email address). We also encourage you to write publicly about this issue and to email your branch presidents.”
*please note these responses are not my intellectual property
To add insult to vile injury one of the most prominent board members mentioned above member in AI Australia, whose position requires impartiality and respect for members, has had things like this to say on Twitter