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Amnesty’s proposal to decriminalize prostitution draws ire from Hollywood, anti-human trafficking groups




A sex worker poses on marble tiling, the same as that used in the Trump Tower in New York, in a room at the upmarket Xclusive brothel in Sydney's Bondi Junction on July 1, 2008.
A sex worker poses on marble tiling, the same as that used in the Trump Tower in New York, in a room at the upmarket Xclusive brothel in Sydney's Bondi Junction on July 1, 2008.
GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images

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Amnesty International will meet next week in Dublin to debate a proposal to decriminalize prostitution.

But even before it’s going to be tabled, a coalition of heavyweight opponents--from marquee Hollywood actors to human rights lawyers to anti-human trafficking experts--has come out against the draft document.

The proposal in question takes what is known as the “Nordic model,” where sex workers are decriminalized but pimps, brothel owners and clients are still faced with criminal charges, one step further, by calling for everyone involved to be free from criminal liability.

That expansion is what anti-human trafficking advocates are up in arms about. They claim that by letting anyone else except for sex workers off the hook, Amnesty is promoting the exploitation of girls and women, who are often forced into sex work. But Amnesty says its intention is to foreground the aspect of choice in sex work, that prostitution could be an expression of individual agency.

Stateside, a lawsuit was filed earlier this year by a group of sex workers in San Francisco against the state of California seeking to decriminalize prostitution in nine states, including California, Arizona, and Oregon. California State Attorney General’s Office has filed a motion to dismiss the suit. A federal court in Oakland will hear that motion on August 7.

Do you support Amnesty International’s proposal to decriminalize prostitution? Do you support the decriminalization of prostitution in the U.S.?

Summary of Proposed Policy on Sex Work

July 22, 2015 Letter to Amnesty International Board of Directors

Guests:

Esohe Aghatise, Anti-Trafficking Manager at Equality Now, an international human rights organization dedicated to action for the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women

Domina Elle, board member of the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP), an advocacy group for sex workers which is behind the Northern California lawsuit