There has been much hue and cry about Amnesty International’s recent vote to decriminalise prostitution.
Amnesty should be congratulated on seeking to “adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers, through measures that include the decriminalisation of sex work”.
So why are many feminists and some voluntary sector organisations such as Zero Tolerance, Women’s Aid and Women Support Project so upset with this policy? Feminists and organisations campaigning against violence against women are upset because rather than give sex workers rights, it legitimacies to the sex industry. It gives permission to the escort agencies, strip bars, pimps and punters to carry on as they were.
There is no accountability given to those who buy sex or facilitate the prostituted (mostly) women. It does not address the issue of demand for the sex industry.