Dear Amnesty International,
As I read the words of your 2004 titled “Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous women in Canada”, I cannot help but find myself in a contradiction. You see, I admire the commitment Amnesty International once had to fighting against oppression towards my Indigenous sisters. You fought hard for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women of Canada. You brought this issue to the attention of people around the world. Though your efforts have been largely ignored by the Canadian federal government, they have not gone unnoticed by Indigenous women, such as myself, in Canada.
However, I am shocked at your recent decision to adopt a policy calling for the decriminalization of johns and pimps. I feel dismayed at your willingness to promote men’s right to buy, sell, and profit from women’s exploitation.
Prostitution in Canada largely affects Indigenous women — a reality you readily acknowledged in your report, Stolen Sisters. Poverty, addiction, homelessness, inter-generational violence, and mental illness leave women exceptionally vulnerable to pimps and johns but you knew this already, didn’t you? Why, I ask, promote an industry that exists off the backs of the most impoverished women? Why choose to stand behind those who profit from the human rights violations that occur in prostitution? ….