One of the world’s leading human-rights organizations has come under fire for its proposal to oppose criminalizing the buying or selling of sex between consenting adults.
Amnesty International says its proposed policy “is based on the human rights principle that consensual sexual conduct between adults—which excludes acts that involve coercion, deception, threats, or violence—is entitled to protection from state interference”.
It cites many examples in which criminalization increases risks to sex workers. They include two studies that showed “most instances of harassment, assault, rape, kidnapping, and murder of street-based sex workers in Vancouver and New York City were not reported to police”.
“This policy does not change Amnesty International’s longstanding position that trafficking into forced prostitution should be criminalized as a matter of international law,” the proposed policy states. “Amnesty International considers children involved in commercial sex acts to be victims of sexual exploitation, entitled to support, reparations, and remedies, in line with international human rights law.”
The organization’s response to the purchase and sale of consensual adult sex has prompted a letter of protest from more than 400 groups and individuals.