Open Letter To Amnesty International re: Prostitution Policy, by Simone Andrea

To Amnesty International,

Thank you for responding to me in an online forum.

As an exited prostituted person I am concerned about your position on Prostitution and would like to express my understanding of your Policy regarding this issue.

1). The Nordic Model criminalizes the sellers and buyers of prostituted persons and not the prostituted persons themselves. This allows them recourse to police without fear of prosecution. It would seem your policy is in line with this so one wonders why you believe it detracts from your own. Also one wonders why you are trying to remove the Nordic Model to replace it with your own. (The fourth part of my concerns hints to why that might be, however).

2). In the countries which have adopted the Model itself, or variations thereof, the sexual trafficking of women has actually decreased.

 

3). The theory that women “working” in what you refer to as “secure environments”, i.e. brothels, has been found inaccurate. Quite the contrary, evidence shows women suffer equally and, on occasions, marginally MORE, than those in non-organized environments as any autonomy granted them is removed by the conditions imposed on them by their “legal pimps”. Brothel owners increase charges depending on the violence of acts demanded by clients thereby forcing women to perform increasingly harmful acts for a market-driven economy. In a capitalistic system, one can see that this is not at all counter-intuitive; rather, it would be expected.

 

4). Please refer to Footnote 2, page 5, of your own policy:

“Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.”

This appears to state that the rights of those who desire sexual access to other human beings usurp the rights of those who would deny them.

 

The aim of Amnesty International’s Policy on Prostitution would, in that case, impose legal prostitution for the benefit of the sellers and consumers of prostituted people and put the rights of those so commodified last. Where women’s rights fit into this is inexplicable.

 

Also, the use of the word “traditional” is curious. Please correct me if I am mistaken but are you implying that traditional means “consensual”? In that case you would be blatantly, yet inadvertently, acknowledging that prostitution is not in fact consensual. Also, (a not entirely unreasonable stretch considering your insistence that all be allowed access to “free expression” whether the other party wishes it or not), “traditional” might also apply to marriage or de facto relationships. This may sound innocuous enough, but might just as easily refer to the fact that in most countries, marital rape is now ILLEGAL, thus prostitution must be made LEGAL for those who you propose should have a right to their “free expression”, for fulfillment of their “needs, “privacy” and “health” no less.

 

5). Your use of the term “sex work”:  Having “sex”, (as distinguished from rape) implies a consensual engagement in sexual activity. Work is defined as a job one engages in consensually and is paid for, (the alternative is slavery). If both parties are desirous of engaging in sex then the need for payment would be unnecessary.  Hence your usage of the term “sex work” is an oxymoron and thus, payment for sex does not create consent, it actually circumvents it entirely.
I might add that the term “sex work” is used to disguise the nature of prostitution itself: which is the trade in a class of persons for economic gain.

 

6). “The acknowledgement of women in human rights is highly complex and controversial”

So, “Women = Humans” is highly complex and controversial?  (I might have to look to look myself up in the dictionary!)

 

I have been working globally with many others in re-drafting and participating in new suggestions of your policy to assist you in your undertaking of supporting women’s rights.

We will still be petitioning for the Nordic Model to be globalized and hope Amnesty International will work with us in the future.

 

Again, I thank you for your response and kind offer of clarification. As the policy is indeed long, I shall leave my other concerns until a later time.

 

Sincerely,

Simone Andrea