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Amnesty International and Its Draft Policy on Sex Work: What You Can Do about It

Amnesty International will be voting on a Draft Policy on Sex Work at its next International Council Meeting on August 7-11, 2015 in Dublin. NSWP has created a petition that calls on the Amnesty International Council to stand firm and support decriminalisation of sex work and protect the human rights of sex workers.

The draft policy calling for decriminalisation is available here and here.

Amnesty International’s draft policy "reflects a growing body of research from UN agencies, human rights organisations and social science which indicates that criminalisation, in its varying forms, exposes sex workers to increased risk of human rights abuses. The policy is based on principles of harm reduction and the human rights principles of physical integrity and autonomy”. It cites a lot of examples in which criminalization increases risks to sex workers.

CATW (Coalition against Trafficking in Women) is leading a lobby against adoption of the decriminalization policy. They have issued a letter against Amnesty’s policy on decriminalization that has been signed by a number of groups and individuals, including some Hollywood celebrities.

Meanwhile, NSWP has mobilised in support of Amnesty International and create a petition that calls on the Amnesty International Council to stand firm and support decriminalisation of sex work and protect the human rights of sex workers.

Please sign the online petition >>HERE and share it widely.

The draft policy is based on the research carried out by Amnesty International on the human rights impact of the criminalisation of sex work, and a global consultation in 2014, which included input from many sex workers around the world – the community most affected by the proposals.

The research findings left no doubt as to the impact of criminalisation:

  • criminalisation of sex work compounds stigma and discrimination against sex workers;
  • sex workers are criminalised and negatively affected by a range criminal laws relating to sex work – not just those criminalising the sale of sexual services;
  • criminalisation gives police impunity to abuse sex workers and it acts as a major barrier to police protection for sex workers;
  • the most marginalised sex workers often report the highest levels, and worst impact of criminalisation.

For further details, you can read NSWP Statement of Support >>HERE.

Apart from signing the petition, you or your organization can also write a letter of support (or many letters). The letters should reference research and expertise, highlighting the health, human rights and harm reduction impact of criminalizing sex work and the importance of promoting sex workers' human rights. It would be helpful to mention in the letter that the policy was developed after 2 years of consultation and debate. The letters should be addressed to AI's  director, Salil Shetty. You can also send the letter to AI section leaders, as they'll be the ones voting on the policy.

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