Open Letter to Amnesty

(editor note: we have hyper-linked references in footnotes directly into the text. The full footnotes accompanying this letter appear at the bottom of the document.)

Salil Shetty  July 17, 2015
Secretary General
Amnesty International

Steven W. Hawkins Executive Director Amnesty International USA
Amnesty International Board of Directors

Dear Mr. Shetty, Mr. Hawkins and the Amnesty International Board of Directors:
We write to you in light of Amnesty International’s “Draft Policy on Sex Work” to be reportedly submitted for consideration at its International Council Meeting in Dublin, from 7-11 August 2015 and which endorses the full decriminalization of the sex industry. (1)

The signatories below represent a wide breadth of national and international human rights advocates, women’s rights organizations, faith-based and secular organizations and concerned individuals, deeply troubled by Amnesty’s proposal to adopt a policy that calls for the decriminalization of pimps, brothel- owners and buyers of sex — the pillars of a $99 billion global sex industry. (2) Most importantly, the signers include courageous survivors of the sex trade whose authority of experience informs us about the inescapable harms the sex trade inflicted on them and guides us toward finding meaningful solutions toward ending these human rights violations.

Amnesty International was the first and most prominent organization to bring the concept of human rights to the global community. Although Amnesty was late in understanding that women’s rights are human rights and incorporating this concept in its mission, it was nevertheless seen as a beacon in mobilising the public to ensure governments’ implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The “Draft Policy on Sex Work” (3) flies in the face of this historical reputation.

We firmly believe and agree with Amnesty that human beings bought and sold in the sex trade, who are mostly women, must not be criminalized in any jurisdiction and that their human rights must be respected and protected to the fullest extent. We also agree that, with the exception of a few countries, governments and law enforcement grievously violate prostituted individuals’ human rights. However, what your “Draft Policy on Sex Work” is incomprehensibly proposing is the wholesale decriminalization of the sex industry, which in effect legalizes pimping, brothel owning and sex buying.
Growing evidence shows the catastrophic effects of decriminalization of the sex trade. The German government, for example, which de-regulated the industry of prostitution in 2002 has found that the sex industry was not made safer for women after the enactment of its law. (4) Instead, the explosive growth of legal brothels in Germany has triggered an increase in sex trafficking. (5)

Decriminalization of the sex trade renders brothel owners “businessmen” who with impunity facilitate the trafficking of very young women predominantly from the poorest countries of Eastern Europe and the Global South to meet the increased demand for prostitution. For instance, the 2002 German decriminalization law spawned countrywide brothel chains that offer “Friday-night specials” (6) for men who have license to purchase women for sexual acts that include acts of torture.(7) This prompted mainstream news outlets to tag Germany the “Bordello of Europe.” (8) Last year, leading trauma experts in Germany petitioned their government to repeal the 2002 law, underlining the extensive psychological harm that serial unwanted sexual invasion and violence, among the hallmarks of prostitution, inflicts on women. Harm reduction is not enough, they explain; governments and civil society must invest in harm elimination. (9)

Additionally, reports indicate that the Netherlands has also seen an exponential increase in sex trafficking that is directly linked to that government’s decriminalization of the sex industry in 2000. (10) The Dutch government confirms such links. (11) Up to 90%12 of the women in Amsterdam’s brothels are Eastern European, African and Asian women who are being patronized by predominantly Caucasian men. Without a vibrant sex industry, there would be no sex trafficking.

Amnesty appears to shape its opinion about the sex industry primarily from the perspective of the HIV/AIDS sector, including UNAIDS. (13) As worthy as their global work is, it is evident that these groups have very little understanding, if any, of violence against women and the intersectionality of race, gender and inequality. Defending the health and human rights of women is significantly more complex than the single aim of protecting individuals from HIV/AIDS, however critical. The primary goals of UNAIDS and other agencies that support limited harm reduction policies in the sex industry seem far more concerned with the health of sex buyers than the lives of prostituted and sex trafficked women. On the other hand, medical professionals, including gynecologists and mental health providers, confirm that regardless of how a woman ends up in the sex trade, the abuse, sexual violence and pervasive injuries these women endure at the hands of their pimps and “clients,” lead to life-long physical and psychological harm — and, too often, death. (14)

Moreover, international laws and covenants (15) recognize the abuse of power over acutely vulnerable populations — the poor, the incested, the transgendered, the homeless — as a tool for the purpose of exploitation. Disenfranchised women of color, including Aboriginal, Native, First Nations, African- American and from “Scheduled Castes,” are overwhelmingly represented among prostituted and sex trafficked women. (16) Every day, we combat male access to women’s bodies through power and control, from female genital mutilation to child marriage; from domestic violence to reproductive rights. The exchange of money for such access does not eliminate the violence women face in the sex trade. It is unfathomable that a human rights organization of Amnesty’s stature is failing to recognize prostitution as a cause and consequence of gender inequality.

A primary way of protecting the human rights of commercially sexually exploited individuals is to provide services and exit strategies should they opt to leave the sex trade and hold their exploiters accountable. A number of European governments and Canada have passed legislation that reflects this gender and human rights framework. (17) In a 2014 resolution, the European Parliament also recognized prostitution as a form of violence against women and an affront to human dignity, urging its members to pass laws that decriminalize solely those who sell sex and criminalize solely those who purchase it.(18)

Consequently, should Amnesty vote to support the decriminalization of pimping, brothel owning and sex buying, it will in effect support a system of gender apartheid, in which one category of women may gain protection from sexual violence and sexual harassment, and offered economic and educational opportunities; while another category of women, whose lives are shaped by absence of choice, are instead set apart for consumption by men and for the profit of their pimps, traffickers and brothel owners. Neither the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nor international law excepts any human being from enjoying a life free of violence and equality.

Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty once said:

“The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who ‘disappeared.’ That is what the candle is for.”

Amnesty’s reputation in upholding human rights for every individual would be severely tarnished if it adopts a policy that sides with buyers of sex, pimps and other exploiters rather than with the exploited. By so voting, Amnesty would blow out its own candle.

We implore Amnesty to stand on the side of justice and equality for all. Sincerely yours,

Magdy Abdel Hamid, Egyptian Association For Community Participation  Enhancement, Egypt

Tahira Abdulla, Pakistan, Peter Abetz MLA & Parliament of Western Australia & Australia

Trudee Able Peterson, USA

Morton Abromson, USA

Action Against Violence and Exploitation (ACTIVE), Philippines

Adopt&Nordic WA, Australia

Esohe Aghatise, PhD Anti-Trafficking Programmes Manager Worldwide, Equality and Now

Ijose Aghatise, Programmes Director, Associazione Iroko Onlus, Italy

Mohammed Ali, Human Rights Activist & Board Member, Feminist Initiative, Oslo, Norway

Leila El Ali, Executive Director, Association Najdeh (member of IFE+EFI), Lebanon

Coralie Alison, National Director of Operations Collective Shout, Australia.

Nancy Allen, Human Trafficking Freedom Coalition, USA

Benedict Alnaes, Human Rights Activist & Board Member, Feminist Initiative, Oslo, Norway

Rev. Dr.Cheryl Anthony, Judah International, USA

APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking), Ireland

Martha Lucía Arcila A.

Mirela Arqimandriti. Executive Director, Gender Alliance for Development Centre, Albania.

Roxana Arroyo, President, Fundación Justicia y Género, Costa Rica

Billy B. Ashby, USA

Muriel Salmona, Doctor of Psychiatry, President, Association Mémoire Traumatique et Victimologie, France

Judith Trinquart, Doctor of Legal Medicine, General Secretary, Association Mémoire Traumatique et Victimologie, France

Gertrud Åström, President, Hela HUT AB, Sweden

Holly G Atkinson, MD, FACP Director, Human Rights Program, Arnhold Global  Health Institute at Mount Sinai, USA

Colleen Atwood, USA

Élaine Audet, Writer and Editor, Sisyphe.org, Canada

Seher Aydar, Leader, Antiracism Center, Oslo, Norway

Jackie Aziz, Secretary to Director of Mission, St. Joseph’s Hospice, UK

Bagong Kamalayan Survivors’ Collective, The Philippines

Laure Banks, Greater Allen Cathedral, USA

Trisha Baptie. Founding Member and Community Engagement Coordinator, EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating), Canada

Christine Baranski, USA

Barbara Bares, USA

Angela Bassett, USA

Hélène Bédard, La Maison de Marthe, Canada

Cynthia Bellinger, Restoring Our Community Media Arts Network, USA

Sarah Benson, CEO, Ruhama, Ireland

Samantha Berg, Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), USA

Stina Bergsten, Founder and Board Member, Feminist Initiative Party, Oslo, Norway

Lohana Berkins, Asocicion de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti y Transexual (ALITT), Argentina

Taina Bien, Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International, USA

Julie Bindel, Journalist and Feminist Campaigner, Board Member, SPACE International, UK

Collette N. Bishop MSW, The Organization for Prostitution Survivor (OPS) and Seattle Therapy&Alliance (STA), USA

Susie Tompkins Buell, USA

Aud Karin Bjorn, Executive Committee Member & Board Member, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Selma Blair, USA

Emily Blunt, UK

Susan Bolotin, USA

Anne Bonfiglio, Executive Director Partnership for Student Advancement, USA

Valerie Borja, UP Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Philipino, Philippines

Helle Borgen, Feminist Spokesperson and Vice President, Red Party of Norway, Norway

Gabriella Bottani, Director of Talitha Kum, USA

Lise Bouvet, Collectif Resources Prostitution, France

Debra Boyer, PhD, Executive Director, Organization for Prostitution Survivors, USA

Consolata Boyle, Ireland

Sandra Boynton, USA

Jane Bradley, USA

Mar Brettmann, PhD, Executive Director, BEST (Businesses Ending Slavery Trafficking), USA

Sally Ann Brickner, OSF, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Coordinator, Congregation of Sisters of St Agnes, USA

Françoise Brié Porte parole, Fédération& Nationale Solidarité Femmes, France

Jimmie Briggs, Founding Executive Director, ManUp Campaign, and Current  Executive Director, LOVE (Leave&Out&Violence), USA

Tina Brown, UK/USA
Dana Buchman, USA

Ted Bunch, Co+Founder, A CALL TO MEN, USA

Judith Buckman, South Jersey National Organization for Women (NOW), Alice Paul Chapter, USA

Jennifer and Peter& Buffett, Co+Presidents, NoVo Foundation, USA

BUKLOD Survivors – Olongapo, The Philippines

Francesca Burack, Enterprising and Professional Women – NYC (EPW+NYC), USA

Autumn Burris, Founding Director, Survivors for Solutions USA

Twiss Butler, USA

Rev. William Caban, Templo Candelero de Oro

Lydia Cacho, Author and Activist; Winner Amnesty International Human Rights Award (2008), Amnesty International U.S.A Ginetta Sagan Award (2009) and Women of  the World Thompson Reuters Award for Bravery in Journalism (2012), Mexico

Laure Caille, General Secretary, Libres MarianneS&(LMS), France

California Against Slavery, USA

Campaign to End Rape and Truth About Rape, UK

Pilar Gonzalez Cano, Member, RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking Exploitation), Spain

Micheline Carrier, Editor, Sisyphe.org, Canada

Rev. Dr. Michael Carrion, Evangelical Covenant Church and National Latino Evangelical Coalition, USA

Vednita Carter, Founder and President, Breaking Free, Inc., USA

Phoebe Cates+Kline, USA

Michelle Chapman, Youthful Solutions

Susana Boero Chiarotti, INSGENAR-Rosario, Argentina

CEDAW Watch, The Philippines

Luce Cloutier, Anthropologist and Consultant, Canada

Graciela Collantes, Asoc. de Mujeres Argentinas por los DDHH (AMADH&CABA), Argentina

Margaux Collet, Osez le féminisme!, France

Rebekah Contarino, Founder and Executive Director, Love True, USA

John Converset, Director, Office of JPIC, North American Province, Comboni  Missionaries, USA

Carrie Coon, USA

Chris Cooper, USA

Marianne Cooper, USA

Cooperativa Nadia Echazú, Argentina

Nora Cortiñas, Madre de Plaza de Mayo, Línea Fundadora, Argentina

Lawrence Couch, Director, National Advocacy Centre of  the Sisters of the Good  Shepherd, USA

Ziba Cranmer, Executive Director, Demand Abolition, USA

Sr. Colette Cronin, The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy, UK

Michael Cunningham, USA

Hugh Dancy, UK

Claire Danes, USA

Rev. Adrian Dannhauser, Chair, Task Force Against Human Trafficking for the  Episcopal Diocese of New York, USA

Wendy Davis, Director, Rooms of our Own, UK

Sr. Joan Dawber, SC, Executive Director, LifeWay Network, USA

Michèle Dayras, SOS Sexisme, France

Sr. Lynda Dearlove rsm, women@thewell, UK

Elizabeth F. Defeis, Professor of Law, Seton Hall School of Law, USA

Dr. Stephen M. De Luca, Esq., Chairman, Legislative/Policy Committee, NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking, USA

Jonathan Demme, USA

Michelle Madden Dempsey, Professor of Law, Villanova University School of  Law, USA

Grace Hightower De Niro, USA

Monique Dental, Founding President, Réseau Féministe “Ruptures”, France

Claire Desaint, Vice President, Association Réussir l’égalite Femmes+Hommes (REFH), France

Fatoumata Siré Diakité, Executive Director, Association pour le Développement  de la Femme and ACTPEW, Mali

Casandra Diamond, Survivor and Founder, BridgeNorth, USA

Danny Diaz,  Love Gospel Assembly, USA

Rossana Dimarca, Member of Parliament and Feminist Spokesperson, Swedish Left Party, Sweden

Anjilee Dodge, MSW Candidate, USA

Winifred Doherty, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good  Shepherd Worldwide

Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, Ireland

Robert Douglas, SCO, USA

Catherine J. Douglass, USA

Jennifer Drew, Consultant, Scottish Women Against Pornography, UK

Geneviève Duché, President, l’Amicale du Nid, France

Rose Dufour Ph.D., Anthropologist and Executive Director, La Maison de  Marthe, Canada

Martin Dufresne, Zéromacho, Québec, Canada

Jaha  Dukureh, Founder and Executive Director, Safe Hands for Girls, USA/The Gambia

Dr. Lynette Dumble, Founder and Director of the Global Sisterhood Network,  Medical and Environmental Scientist

Lena Dunham, USA

Raymonde Dussault, France

Linda Emond, USA

Diane English, USA

Rev. Que English, NYC Faith+Based Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, USA

Rev. Tim English, Bronx Christian Fellowship, USA

Mary Enright, DMJ, USA

Jean Enriquez, Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia  Pacific (CATW+AP), The Philippines

Eve Ensler, Playwright and Founder, V+Day, USA

Equal Pay Campaign, USA

European Women’s Lobby – French Chapter, France

Matthew B. Ezzell, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, James Madison University, USA

Alda Facio, Expert Member on L.A.C., Working Group on the Issue of  Discrimination Against Women, Human Rights Council, Costa Rica

Madge Fahy, Social Questions Committee, Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga, Australia

Natasha Falle, Sex Trade 101, Canada

Melissa Farley, Ph.D., Executive Director, Prostitution Research Education, USA

Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes, France

Feminism in London, UK

Rev  Grant Finlay, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) Tasmania, Australia

Anna Fisher, UK

Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Writer and Translator, USA

Mark Flynn, Christ United Methodist Church, USA

Marie-Hélène Franjou, Public Health Doctor, France

Margot Franssen, OC, Co-Chair, National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of  Canadian Women and Girls, Canada

Pierre Fritsch, France

Paulo Fuller, The Philippines

Elizabeth Gabler, President, Fox 2000, USA

Lynda Haddock, UK

Sr. M. Cordis Ganslmeier, Sisters of Our Lady of  Charity Provinzleiterin, Germany/Albania

Lauren Gallo-White, USA

Kate Ganz, USA

Pat Gartlan, Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMAC) and Amnesty  International Australia, Australia

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., USA

Mariam Garuba, M.D., USA

Sarah Gavron, UK

Glendyne Gerrard, Director, Defend Dignity, Canada

Julia Geynisman, M.D., Founder, Survivor Clinic, and Obstetrics and Gynecology,  New York Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Med Center, USA

Myani Gilbert, Master of Social Work Student, University of Washington, USA

Global Centurion, USA

Cheryl Glover, Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church, USA

Molly Gochman, Stardust Fund, USA

Karenna Gore, Director, Centre for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, USA

Margeaux Gray, Survivor Advocate, Motivational Speaker, Artist National  Survivor Network, USA

Sr. Margaret Gonzi, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good  Shepherd, Malta

Aneta Grabowska and Mary Grey, RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking  Against Trafficking Exploitation), Poland

Catríona Graham, Anti-Trafficking Awareness Officer, Immigrant Council of  Ireland, Ireland

Diane Guilbault, Vice President, Pour les droits des femmes du Québec (PDF  Québec), Canada

Ruchira Gupta, Founder and President, Apne Aap Women Worldwide, and  Professor, New York University, India

Winnie Holtzman, USA

Rev. Kate Haggar, Minister of Religion, Australia

Marie Hélène Halligon, OLCGS, Main Representative for Congregation of Our Lady

Charity of the Good Shepherd, Good Shepherd International Justice and Peace Office (Vienna) and Core Member, RENAT (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation), France

Lilian Halls-French, Co-President, Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE-EFI, France

Jalna Hanmer, UK

Ingrid Halvorsen, Human Rights Activist and Board Member, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Marcia Gay Harden, USA

Rev. Maria Harrero, His Grace Fellowship, USA

Yasmeen Hassan, Global Director, Equality Now, Worldwide

Anne Hathaway, USA

Dr. Anita Heiliger, Sociologist, Gender Studies/Violence Prevention, KOFRA (Communication Centre for Women in Work and Life) and Initiative Stop  Sexkauf, Germany

Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Micah Institute, USA

Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary, USA

Rosen Hicher, Survivor and Abolitionist Activist, Marche Pour L’Abolition, France

Adriane Hill, New York Theological Seminary, USA

Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Executive Director, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual  Exploitation, USA

Lisa Hofflich, President, Westchester NOW, USA

Matthew Holloway, BSocSc (Couns), Secretary, Nordic Model Australia Coalition  (NorMAC)

Maria Holly, SHJM, Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mark, UK

Wiveca Holst, Roks, Sweden

Ingrid Hörnebo, Advisor, Norwegian Parliament, and Representative, The  Norwegian Socialist Left Party, Norway

Vivian Huelgo, USA

Klein Huhuette, France

Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Founder and Chair, Hunt Alternatives, USA

R. Evon Idahosa, Esq., Founder/Executive Director, PathFinders Justice Initiative, Inc., USA/Nigeria

Gerald Imperial, The Philippines

Ashley Byrd, Carolyn Carney, Calvin Chan, Cristina Chapelle, Emily Craig, Tim Craig, Daniela Lancara, Ashish Mathew, R. York Moore, and Douglas  Paillere, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, USA

Irish Countrywomen’s Association, Ireland

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Ireland

Katie Irwin, NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking, USA Neil Irwin, Executive Director, Men Can Stop Rape, USA

Ghada Jabbour, Co-Founding Member and Head of the Exploitation Trafficking in Women Unit, KAFA (enough) Violence Exploitation, Lebanon

Margarita Jankauskaitė, Centre for Equality Advancement, Lithuania

Aurora Javate-de&Dios, Board Chair, Coalition Against  Trafficking in Women –  International, The Philippines

Rodrigo Jiménez, C-Director, Women, Gender and Justice Program, United  Nations Latin American Institute for Crime Prevention, Costa Rica

Lone Alice Johansen, Senior Advisor, Secretariat of the Shelter Movement Norway, Norway

Sarah Jones, USA

Guðrún Jónsdóttir, Spokeswoman, Stígamóta, Iceland

Boriana Jönsson, Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE+EFI, France

Rev. Dr .Emma Jordan-Simpson, Concord Baptist Church USA

Daisy Z. Alvarez Juarez,Venezuela

Lyne Jubinville, Computer Science Professional and Treasurer, Pour les droits des femmes du Québec (PDF Québec), Canada

Ashley Judd, USA

Borbala Juhász, Hungarian Women’s Lobby, Hungary

Justice for Women, USA

Jennifer Kay, Sex Trafficking Survivors United, USA

Miyuki Kawachi, University of the Philippines, The Philippines

Anne Kelleher, Communications, RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking  Against Trafficking and Exploitation), Ireland

Constance Kennedy, CSJ, Co-Chair of Coalition,  Religious Congregations to Stop  Human Trafficking (CRC-STOP), Social Justice Committee, Congregation of St.  Joseph, USA

Alika Kinan, Trafficking Survivor and President, Instituto de Género Sapa Kippa,  Argentina

Dr. Renate Klein, FINRRAGE(Australia) and Amnesty International Australia QLD  Branch Member, Australia

Inge Kleine, Abolish Prostitution Now and Abolition 2014, Germany

Greta Kline, USA

Kevin Kline, USA

Owen Kline, USA

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families,USA

Suzanne Koepplinger, USA

Rita&Kohli, Tools for Change, Canada

Jenni Konner, USA

Tali Koral, Machon Toda’a, Israel

Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, Scientists for a World Without Prostitution, Germany

Cathrine Linn Kristiansen, First Name, Feminist&Initiative&Oslo, and Board  Member, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Lisa Kudrow, USA

Iluta Lace, Director, Marta Resource Centre for Women, Latvia

Brigitte Lacombe, France

Yeun Lagadeuc-Ygouf, France

Lee Lakeman, Canada

Barbara Arminio La Mort, Benedictine Academy, USA

Felicity Langton, Chair, Collective Shout, Australia

Kylla Lanier, Deputy Director, Truckers Against Trafficking, USA

Imam Khalid Latif, The Islamic Centre at New York University, USA

Sr. Hannah Rita Laue OP, Dominican Sisters of Bethany, Sv. Jazepa  klosteris, Latvia

Lawig Bubai Survivors Organization, Philippines

Aye Sithu Htun (a) Mary Eunan Lawrence, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Annette Lawson OBE, Chair, The Judith Trust, Immediate Past Chair, National  Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO), UK

The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering (RDFL), Lebanon

Simone LeConte-Parker, Berean Community and Family Life Centre, USA

Catherine Lee, Founder, Justice for Women program at University Maine School of Law,  and Managing Director, Lee International, Climate Change Advisory Services, USA

Jimmy Lee, Executive Director, Restore NYC, USA

Dorchen A. Leidholdt, Co-Chair, New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition, USA

Leila Lesbet, Women’s Rights Activist, Special Education Technician,Canada

Hannah Hartman and Dylan Walker, Let My People Go, USA

Dr. Helen Liebling, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology/Associate of African Studies Centre, Coventry University, UK

Martha Linehan, IMT, CDP, Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS), USA

Laura Linney, USA

Phyllid Lloyd, UK

Rachel Lloyd, Founder/CEO, GEMS, USA

Marta López, Designada Regional para América Latina y el Caribe-OIJPBP, Congregación Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Buen Pastor

Shelia Lynch, Daughters of Mary and Joseph, California, USA

Angela Lytle, Executive Director, Women’s Human Rights Institute, Centre for Women Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

Isla MacGregor, Whistleblowers Tasmania, Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMac), Australia

Katarina Macleod, Rising Angels, Canada

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Founder and Board Member, Embrace Dignity, South Africa

Aïssata Maïga, Project Coordinator, Institute for Security Development Policy, Sweden

Manchester Feminist Network, UK

Valerie Marchese, USA

Elizabeth Margoshes, USA

JoAnn Mark, ASC, Executive Director, Partnership for Global Justice, USA

Stella Marr, Sex Trafficking Survivors United, USA

Margaret Martin, Director, Women’s Aid, Ireland

Micheline Mason, UK

Maureen Master, Lawyer and Graduate Student researching Prostitution, MSt  Programme in International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford, UK

Josua Mata, Secretary-General, SENTRO (Workers’&Center), The&Philippines

Ane Mathieson, MSW Candidate, 2012-2013 Fulbright Fellow, USA

Nicole  Matthews, Executive Director, Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, USA

Jacques Mattinette, La Maison de Marthe, Canada

Stacey McCaig Sr. Ethna McDermott, Province Leader for Ireland

Congregation of our Lady of  Charity of the Good Shepherd, Ireland

Belinda Munoz, USA

Maureen McGowan, rgs, HandCrafting Justice, Inc., USA

Síle McGowan HFB, Religious Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux, Member, APT Ireland

(Act to Prevent Trafficking Ireland), Ireland

Karen McHugh, CEO, Doras Luimni, Ireland

Marianne McKenna, USA

Louise McLeod, Women Graduates USA, USA

Sarah McMahon, Psychologist and Founder, BodyMatters Australasia, Australia

Sandra McNeill, Justice for Women, UK

Jane McVeigh, USA Clarissa Militante, Philippines

Kelly Miller, Executive Director, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual Domestic  Violence USA

Jessica Minhas, Founder and CEO, I’ll Go First, USA

Asunción Miura, Spain

Rev. Gil Monrose, Mt. Zion Church of God 7th Day, USA

Florence Montreynaud, Encore féministes!, France

Rachel Moran, Author, Founding member and Executive Director, SPACE International, Ireland

Michele Morek, OSU, Coalition Coordinator, UNANIMA International, USA

Robin Morgan, The Sisterhood is Global Institute, USA

Laura Morie, Certified Senior Advisor, Rotary District&5370 Canada, Governor Elect, Canada

Johanne Morneau, La Maison de Marthe, Canada

Stacey Morse, USA

Joel Motley, USA

Marianne Mouchikhine, Member, Collectif Libertaire Anti Sexiste (CLAS), France

Carey Mulligan, UK

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current, Canada

Gail Mutrux, USA

Jonathan Nambu, The Philippines

Andrea Salwen Kopel, Executive Director; Maria Mostajo, President

Pamela Kling Takiff, Advocacy Leadership Chair, National Council of Jewish Women New York Section (NCJW NY), USA

National Council of Jewish Women, USA

Chris Troy and Danelia, NY CityServe, USA

Sr. Taskila Nicholas, Opportunity Village Nepal, Nepal

Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, International Committee Member, World March of Women, Philippines, The Philippines

Jessica Neuwirth, Founder, Donor Direct Action, USA

Lene Nilsen, Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman and Board Member, Feminist Initiative Oslo, Norway

Joan Nissman, USA

Clare Nolan, Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Training Facilitator, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, USA

Beverly Cooper Neufeld, PowHer NY, USA

Torill Nustad, Executive Committee and Board Member, The Women’s Front of  Norway, Norway

Klarissa Oh, Executive Director, OAASIS (Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service)

Jodeen Olguín-Tayler, Vice President of Policy and Partnerships, Demos, USA

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Ireland

Terry O’Neill, National Organization for Women, USA

The Organization for Prostitution Survivors, USA

Susan&Orlean, USA

Sonia Ossorio, President, NOW-NYC/NOW NYS, USA

Lise Østby, Senior Advisor, The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, Norway

Hannah Pakula, USA

Clydie Pasia, The Philippines

Mandy Patinkin, USA

Pavee Point, Ireland

Margarita Peralta, Moreno, Prov. de Bs. As., Asoc. de Mujeres Argentinas por los DDHH, Argentina

Michelle Pernini, USA

Dr. Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce, Survivor and President, Othayonih Research, USA

Judith Pillsbury, France

Kat Pinder, Survivor Activist and Amnesty International Australia, QLD Branch Committee Member, Australia

Maudy  Piot, President, Association Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour  Agir, France

Kent R. Pipes, President, The Affordable Homes Group, Inc., USA

Imelda Poole, President, Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, and President, RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation), Albania

Dianne Post, Attorney, USA

Emily Scott Pottruck, USA

Carol Pregno RGS, Province Leader, Central South US Province, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, USA

Caroline Price, rgs, Social Justice Coordinator, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Australia/New&Zealand

Pierre-Guillaume Prigent, France

Nidia Quesada O, Mujer Levantate y Anda, Honduras

Anna Quindlen, USA

The Rev. Alison J. Quin, Christ the King Episcopal Church, USA

The RadFem Collective, UK

Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre, Sligo, Leitrim West Cavan, Ireland

Jody Raphael, Schiller DuCanto Fleck Family Law Centre, DePaul University College of Law, USA

Janice G.&Raymond, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

Anne Ream, Voices and Faces, USA

Theresa Rebeck, USA

Diane Redsky,  Executive  Director, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Inc., and Former Project Director, National Task Force of Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada, Canada

Red Youth, Norway

Rev. Llloyd Reid Jr, Greater Mt. Bethel Pentecostal Tabernacle, USA

RENEW Foundation, The Philippines

Jorunn Friis Reset, Secretary, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Resist Porn Culture, UK

Chiara Carpita and Ilaria Baldini, Resistenza Femminista, Italy

Lina Alvarez Reyes, Founder, Feminist Initiative Youth Norway Board Member, Feminist Initiative Oslo

Shea M. Rhodes, Director, Villanova University School of Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, USA

Lesley Rimmel, Core Faculty Member, Gender and Women’s Studies Program, Oklahoma State University, USA

Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera Latino Pastoral Action Center, USA

Amy Robinson, USA
Artika Roller, Women and Children’s Program Director, Women’s Advocates, USA

Kathleen Romine, Member and Board of Directors, Women’s Empowerment International, Co-Liaison for Via and the ESTIMA Project, USA

Caitlin Roper, Campaigns Manager, Collective Shout, Australia

Janica Rosales, The Philippines

Lynn Rosenthal, Former White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, USA

Anne Rothing, Women’s Rights Activist and Board Member, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Cristina Ruiz, Survivor, Asoc. Nacional Abolicionista Quilmes, Prov. de Bs. As., Argentina

Deborah Rush, USA

Malika Saada Saar, Executive Director, Human Rights Project for Girls  (Rights4Girls), USA

Rev. Raleigh Sadler, Missionary Baptist, Worldwide

Mary Salter, USA

Samaritana Transformation Ministries, The Philippines

Dr. Corrine Sanchez, Executive Director, Tewa Women United USA

Sonia Sánchez, Author and Survivor Activist, Columbia

Rev. Addie Sanders-Banks, The Groundswell Group, USA

Sanlaap, India

Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald, Persons Against Non-State Torture, Canada

Lynn Savarese, USA

Viktoria Saxby, Political Advisor, The Centre Women of Sweden, Sweden

Marjorie F. Saylor, Survivor, Survivor Leader Network of San Diego (SLNSD) and Runaway Girl, Inc., S.M.E., USA

Jean Schafer, Co-Director, SDS Hope House, Inc., USA

Deborah Schatz, National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section, USA

Kay Asbjørn Knutsen Schjørlien, Writer, Feminist and Representative, Norwegian Socialist Left Party in Oslo, Norway

Madeleine Schultz, Author, Journalist and Human Rights Activist, Norway

Alice Schwarzer, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, EMMA Magazine, Germany

The Hon. Dr Jocelynne A. Scutt, Barrister and Human Rights Lawyer, Visiting Professor and Senior Fellow, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Space&Allies,&Japan&

Kyra Sedgwick, USA

Susan M. Seeby, CSA, General Councilor, Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, USA

Barbara Seidle, Founder, The Hannah More Project, USA

SENTRO-Women, Philippines

Bonnie Shapiro, Northern New Jersey Chapter of National Organization for Women (NOW), USA

Dawn Shaw, Secretary, Social Questions Committee, Catholic Women’s League of  Victoria and Wagga Wagga, Australia

Rameen N. Sheikh, President, Red Youth Oslo, Norway

Pamela Shifman, Executive Director, NoVo Foundation, USA

Louise Shohet, USA

Line Schou, Founder and Board Member, Feminist Initiative Party Oslo, Norway

Shanta Shrestha, Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal

Dr. Carla Sinz, USA

Michèle Sirois, Présidente, Pour les droits des femmes du Québec (PDF Québec), Canada

Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux, Ireland

Daisy Elizabeth Sjursø, Executive Committee Member and Board Member, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Tina Skotnes, Executive Committee Member and Board Member, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Susan L. Smalley, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Board Member, Equality  Now, USA

Cherry Smiley, Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry (IWASI), Canada

Liz Smith, Australia

Eris Smyth, Australia

Pastor Michelle Soto, Fierce Woman Found Ministries, Inc, USA

Hannah Sorkin, USA

Support After Rape Sexual Violence Leeds, UK

Srabani Sarkar Neogi, South Kolkata Hamari Muskan, India

Johanne St-Amour, Canada

Kestia St Juste, Kay’s Music Studios LLC, USA

Gloria Steinem,USA

Rev. Penny Stephens, Chaplain, St. Joseph’s Hospice, UK

Major Katie Stoops, Salvation Army, USA

Mgr. ThLic. Blanka Stráníková and Klára Marie Stráníková, Czech&Republic

Meryl Streep, USA

Katarina Storalm, Women’s Rights Activist and Leader, Ottar, Norway

Agnete Strøm, Human Rights Activist and Board Member, The Women’s Front of Norway, Norway

Rose Styron, USA

Susanna Styron, USA

Maria Svensson, Acting Chairwoman, Feminist Initiative, Sweden

Gwénola Sueur, General Secretary, SOS les Mamans, France

Annie Sugier Présidente, Ligue du Droit International des Femmes (LDIF), France

Fumi Suzuki, Japan

Theresa Symons, Good Shepherd Services, Malaysia
Lucy S. Takagi, PsyD, USA

Talikala, Philippines

Lisa-Marie Taylor, Feminism in London and Resist Porn Culture

Julie Taymor, USA

Pil Teisbo, Executive Committee Member and Board Member, The Women’s Front& of Norway, Norway

Donna Izzard and Jacqui Powell, The 3W Life, USA

Charlize Theron, South Africa/USA

Stephanie Wilkinson, USA

Cheryl A. Thomas, Executive Director, Global Rights for Women, USA

Emma Thompson, UK

Anita Toner, President, Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga  Wagga Australia

Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Executive Director, Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, USA

Meagan Tyler, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)- Australia, Australia

Rev. Naomi Tyler-Lloyd, Trinity Baptist Church

Helen Uwangue, Iroko Charity Organisation, Nigeria

Yasmin Vafa, Co-founder and Director of Law Policy, Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls), USA

Maria Narcisa Vicanco Valarezo, Spain

Mélusine Vertelune, Member, Collectif Libertaire Anti-Sexiste, France

Glòria Casas Vila, Plataforma Catalana pel Dret a No ser  Prostituïdes, Spain

Jonathan Walton, New York City Urban Project Director, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and Director and Founder, the LoGOFF Movement, USA

K. Shakira Washington, USA

Alice Waters, USA

Simone Watson, Prostitution Survivor and Director, Nordic Model Australia  Coalition (NorMac), Australia

David Wayne, Survivor Advocate, Hope Hollow Exploitation Victim Assistance and Consultation Services, and Member of National Survivor Network/Coalition to Abolish&Slavery and Trafficking, USA

Sr. Barbara Wells, RGS, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Toronto, ON, Canada

Ali Wentworth, USA

Karin Werkman, Institute for Feminism and Human Rights, Sweden

Rebecca Whisnant, University of Dayton, USA

Allison Williams, USA

Bronwyn Williams, Member, Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMAC), Australia

Rev. Jesse Williams, Convent Avenue Baptist Church, USA

Marsha Garces Williams, USA

Rev. Roslyn Willis, Accepted Ministry, USA

Debra Winger, USA

Kate Winslet, UK

Anna Wintour, UK/USA

Women and Gender Institute, Miriam College, The Philippines

WomanHealth, Philippines

Shannon Wong, Orange County Legislator, USA

Andrée Yanacopoulo, Board Member, Pour les droits des femmes du Québec (PDF Québec), Canada

Theresa Yeh, Tapei Women’s Rescue Foundation, Taiwan

Jungsook “Grace” Yoon, Executive Director, Korean American Family Service Centre (KAFSC), USA

Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality, India

Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality, The Philippines

Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, Regional Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico

Footnotes:

  1. Amnesty International, 32nd International Council Meeting, Circular No. 18, 2015 ICM Circular: Draft Policy on Sex Work; AI Index: ORG 50/1940/2015
  2. International Labour Organization, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour (Geneva: ILO, 2014).
  3. Amnesty uses the term “sex work,” a term invented by the sex industry and its supporters to mainstream and normalize the inherent violence, degradation and dehumanization that defines prostitution. It is not a term that complies with the principles of human rights or with international law.
  4. German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Report by the Federal Government on the Impact of the Act Regulating the Legal Situation of Prostitutes (Prostitution Act), (Berlin: 2007).
  5. 5 Seo-Young Cho, Axel Dreher and Eric Neumayer, “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking,” World Development 41 (2013): 75-76,
  6. Nisha Lilia Diu,“Welcome to Paradise: Inside the World of Legalised Prostitution,” The Telegraph, January 8, 2015,
  7. For a list of ‘sexual services’ the German brothel chain Pascha offers in Cologne, Munich, Salzburg, Linz and Graz go here.
  8. Cordula Meyer, Conny Neumann, Fidelius Schmid, Petra Truckendanner and Steffen Winter, “Unprotected: How Legalizing Prostitution Has Failed,” Der Spiegel, May 30, 2013.
    Jim Reed, “Mega-brothels: Has Germany become the ‘bordello of Europe’?,” BBC, February 21, 2014
  9. “TraumatherapeutInnen gegen Prostitution!” EMMA, September 25, 2014,
  10. Daalder, A. L. (2007). Prostitution in The Netherlands since the lifting of the brothel ban [English version]. The Hague: WODC / Boom Juridische Uitgevers,
  11. Wim Huisman and Edward R. Kleemans, “The challenges of fighting sex trafficking in the legalized prostitution market of the Netherlands,” Crime, Law and Social Change 61.2 (2014): 215-228.
  12. KLPD (Korps Landelijke Politiediensten) – Dienst Nationale Recherche (juli 2008). Schone schijn, de signalering van mensenhandel in de vergunde
    prostitutiesector. Driebergen.
  13. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work (Geneva: United Nations, 2012)
  14. See two interviews, respectively conducted by Taina Bien-Aimé, with German trauma expert Dr. Ingeborg Kraus in “Germany Wins the Title of ‘Bordello of Europe’: Why Doesn’t Angela Merkel Care?” The Huffington Post, May 27, 2015; and Dr. Julia Geynisman, founder of the Survivor Clinic in “’If You Build It, They Will Come’: The Survivor Clinic Tackles Sex Trafficking in New York City,” The Huffington Post, July 14, 2015,
  15. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Palermo, 15 November 2000, United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 2237, p. 319; Doc. A/55/383
    Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), New York, 18 December 1979, United Nations Treaty Series, vol.1249, in which Article 6 urges member States to “take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.” The UN General Assembly Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 2 December 1949, A/RES/317 states that “prostitution is incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endangers the welfare of the individual, the family and the community.”
  16. Cherry Smiley, “Real change for aboriginal women begins with the end of prostitution,” The Globe and Mail, January 14, 2015,
  17. These set of laws, currently known as the “Nordic Model,” were passed by Sweden (1999), South Korea (2004, with modifications), Iceland (2008), Norway (2009), Canada (2014, with modifications), Northern Ireland (2015). Other jurisdictions debating the enactment of the “Nordic Model” in their legislatures include France, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania and certain jurisdictions in the United States.
  18. Report on sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality, European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, 4 February 2014 available.