More than 400 human rights advocates, including actors, directors, fashion designers and many more, signed an open letter to Amnesty International asking the organization to vote against the decriminalization of the sex industry.
The proposed policy that these advocates are referring to backs the legalization of brothels and pimping. The policy asks for the support of all acts of selling sex to be lawful, but for sex buying to remain illegal.
After learning about Amnesty International’s intention, hundreds of noticeable individuals joined an international public campaign. The campaigners urged the organization to re-evaluate their plans and to stand with those who are oppressed in the sex trade.
The letter declares that advocates agree that those who are prostituted must not be outlawed by law enforcement and that the legalization of selling sex contributes to poverty, homelessness, sexual abuse and discrimination.
Many young children who are forced into the sex trade will not earn an education and will likely contract sexually transmitted diseases. Without healthy and educated citizens, a developing area cannot improve economically.
The cycle of poverty continues because poverty contributes to the sex trade. According to Medical News Today, many families in impoverished areas sell their children into the trade. Sometimes, children and young adults will seek out the trade to earn wages for food and shelter.
Former Irish prostitute Mia de Faoite said that the policy proposal advocating these means of earnings is absolutely unacceptable.
“I can find no justification for those crimes, and I believe that no one is able to justify such human wickedness,” de Faoite said.
She also said this policy move contradicts the organization’s ideals for human rights.
“Amnesty would agree with me, I am sure, and would fight alongside me to find justice, if I asked,” de Faoite said. “This is confusing to me, and it makes no sense because, on the other hand, they are prepared to sanction the behavior that led to this crime.”
A Change.org petition that petitions a “non-profit industrial complex” by Amnesty International agrees with de Faoite. The petition states that with this new policy, the organization will ultimately be harming those who Amnesty International claims to help.
“With this proposal, Amnesty International is moving away from human rights advocacy,” the petition said.
About 500 members of the international human rights organization will meet in Ireland for Amnesty’s 32nd International Council Meeting, where they are projected to approve the decriminalization of sex work. The vicious cycle of poverty will be promoted by Amnesty International’s proposal if there is not a change similar to the one proposed in the open letter.
The letter was signed by celebrities such as author Hannah Pakula, poet Rose Styron, actress Meryl Streep, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Anna Quindlen, chef Alice Waters and 2008 Amnesty International Human Rights Award-winner, Lydia Cacho. Other celebrity signers include Emily Blunt, Lena Dunham, Anne Hathaway, Lisa Kudrow, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.
This level of support for the change has helped achieve such a grand presence in human rights that there is now a campaign on Change.org for the modification. The letter is still open for more signatures.
To sign the letter and learn more about Amnesty International’s policy, click here.
– Fallon Lineberger