In a rather shocking move. Amnesty International, protectors of human rights and engaged in the prevention of human trafficking, has changed their prostitution policy and are now calling for prostitution to be decriminalised to "protect human rights".
Human rights? So, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and famously no one shall be held in slavery or servitude. Now we have a right to orgasm too, apparently. It didn't take long for that document to set the Amnesty name on fire on twitter, and in opinion pieces around the globe. Joy Smith at Huffpo, Swedes in general, organisations like Breaking Free and women's lib blogs like Smashesthep all spoke out against Amnesty.
Abolish prostitution now lists the many ways prostitution is a violation of human rights, and there's even a link & fact-filled Change.org petition "We Demand Amnesty International Listen to Survivors and Reject the Proposal to Decriminalize All Aspects of Prostitution ". The petition chips away at Amnesty showing that they either betray their core values - or simply don't see women as human, take your pick.
While claiming to uphold the rights of every person set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, AI is actually seeking to alter the laws and standards set forth within such international declarations in their push to legalize men’s right to purchase sex with impunity – a goal diametrically in opposition to protecting vulnerable persons from the gendered exploitation and violence endemic to prostitution.
The gendered nature of the phenomena of prostitution is categorically denied in this leaked proposal, stating women are not the only ones who engage in prostitution. Regardless of that fact, women do make up the vast majority of the prostituted class. To deny that this is a gendered issue (requiring an analysis of inequality along the axis of gender) is to deny that women’s rights are human rights.
Meanwhile on twitter, #QuestionsforAmnesty as a hashtag has become the battlefield where feminists, survivors, and sex-workers are asking Amnesty to change their stance and having a heated discussion the subject. This hashtag has brought up many of the issues of trafficking, youth being exploited, and forced servitude that lies in the wake of selling bodies. This, so soon after The UN adopted a landmark resolution on Protecting Women Human Rights Defenders.
Remember what you said in 2011 about the International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders, Amnesty? You said: 'Calling for Justice Does Not Make Us "Whores"'. Bad choice of words, in hindsight. The 'campaign' images spread on twitter (some NSFW), and the questions raised in the #QuestionsforAmnesty hashtag have chipped away at the worldwide brand Amnesty and those watching won't still be associating Amnesty with "Human rights", which is what their brand used to represent, but rather "Mens rights" instead.
Amnesty will have a human rights conference in Chicago, Illinois from April 4th-6th, and this topic will be discussed there. Whether they change their minds on decriminalising prostitution remains to be seen. Who will clean up this PR disaster?
— Caitlin Roper (@caitlin_roper) February 4, 2014
— EuropeanWomen'sLobby (@EuropeanWomen) February 5, 2014
— FrenchFem (@FrenchFem) February 5, 2014
— Sœur Trinité (@SisterTrinity) January 26, 2014