Seven Icelandic women’s organizations issued a joint statement expressing disapproval of human rights group Amnesty International’s proposed policy on the decriminalization of sex work last week, echoing concerns from other rights groups around the world.
The Left Greens political party in Iceland was also outspoken in their disapproval of the policy.
Earlier today, Amnesty International approved its controversial policy at the International Council Meeting of Amnesty International in Dublin, Ireland, rejecting the international concerns. Amnesty’s decision is important because it will lobby governments to accept its point of view, ABC reports.
Amnesty International reasons that the buying and selling of sex should be decriminalized, as well as the intermediation of prostitution, i.e. pimping and brothels. The organization claims that this will protect the human rights of those involved in prostitution.
The seven Icelandic women’s groups to release the statement last week, however, disagree. “Prostitution is abuse, and the selling of people is not consistent with our definition of human rights. Furthermore, it is impossible to clearly separate prostitution from human trafficking. The buyer of prostitution has no way of knowing whether the sex s/he is buying is provided by someone who is doing this of their own free will, or whether that person is a victim of human trafficking. If Amnesty International is serious about eradicating human trafficking, they need to realize that this can only be accomplished by eradicating the demand for prostitution. At the same time, we need to provide institutional resources and social support for those who engage in prostitution and want out,” the statement reads in part.