The world’s most high-profile human rights organisation is either unable or unwilling to see that prostitution is a system of interrelated human rights abuses.
It has been about 18 months since women’s rights activists everywhere were left reeling from Julie Bindel’s exposé of Amnesty International’s determination to decriminalise pimps and punters in the global sex trade.
The news was received with shock and disgust from those of us active in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation. There was also – especially from those of us who’ve lived the sex trade – a deep sense of betrayal.
The bald reality is that when you have been brutalised in a system which is founded on inequality and shaped by the consistent violation of your human rights, you expect the most recognised human rights group on earth to acknowledge the wrongness of that system.
The document itself is a sight to behold. It refuses to recognise that commercial sexual exploitation is a highly gendered abusive practice, and in numerous places throughout the document, Amnesty considers recommending the decriminalisation of punters, pimps, brothel owners and others who exploit women for financial gain or sexual gratification in the global sex trade.