Amnesty International Will Now Fight To Decriminalize Sex Work After Historic Vote

A critical vote to guard sex workers’ human rights was passed yesterday at the decision-making forum of Amnesty International, the International Council Meeting (ICM) in Dublin. Delegates from the world over adopted a decision that gave the International Board the authority to adopt and develop on the subject.

Speaking at the forum, Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty said, “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue.”

The declaration proposes that the Amnesty International comes up with a guiding principle that will decriminalize all features of consensual sex work. The guiding principle will as well require states to make sure that professional sex workers fully enjoy equal protection by the law against violence, exploitation and trafficking.

Explaining the resolution Shetty, “We recognize that this critical human rights issue is hugely complex and that is why we have addressed this issue from the perspective of international human rights standards. We also consulted with our global movement to take on board different views from around the world.”

According to Amnesty International, the study and consultation executed in the creation of this guiding principle in the past couple of years came to a conclusion that this was the most appropriate way to protect the human rights of sex workers and reduce the peril of abuse and exploitations they face.

The abuses that sex workers face include forced HIV and medical interventions, human trafficking, sexual and physical violence, extortion and harassment, and unwarranted arrests and detention. They can also be forced to forego housing services, legal protection and healthcare.

The policy is based on evidence gathered from various credible sources such as the primary UN agencies like the UNAIDS, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, World Health Organization and UN Women.

Among the groups included in the consultation were sex worker associations, institutions representing prostitution survivors, LGBTI advocates, anti-trafficking bodies, feminist groups, abolitionist organizations and women’s rights representatives.

According to Amnesty International, trafficking of humans is repulsive in all its forms and should be declared a serious crime by the international laws. This consideration is clear in the latest policy and all the work of Amnesty International.

Explaining the efforts behind the resolution, Shetty said, “This is a historic day for Amnesty International. It was not a decision that was reached easily or quickly and we thank all our members from around the world, as well as all the many groups we consulted, for their important contribution to this debate. They have helped us reach an important decision that will shape this area of our human rights work going forward.”

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