Amnesty International Votes To Support Decriminalization of Sex Trade

woman dancer100px-Amnesty_International_logo.svgAfter a well-publicized international debate, the delegates from Amnesty International voted on Tuesday to support a policy that calls for decriminalization of the sex trade, including prostitution, payment for sex and brothel ownership. Amnesty International has been the focused of a determined and passionate lobby campaign by celebrities opposing the move. However, the majority still found that criminalization contributes to the abuse of women and girls around the world.

The vote was taken by 400 members from 60 countries. They heard for a host of Hollywood stars and luminaries like Jimmy Carter calling for the group to reject the proposal and “stay true to its mission.”

The group spent two years studying the impact of criminalization in comparing jurisdictions with legal and illegal sex trades. It found that those jurisdictions criminalizing the sex trade had a higher incidence of arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion and harassment, and physical and sexual violence. With the vote, the group will now join other groups seeking decriminalization in lobbying governments and politicians. Libertarians and others support decriminalization as a matter of individual choice so long as the trade involves consenting adults. They argue that it is easier to regulate the industry in places like Nevada where it is legal.

Others argue to shifting the most severe penalties of the “johns” but keeping the trade illegal to prevent the abuse of young girls and women.
Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s foreign minister, insisted that the concept of choice for women in the trade is a “myth.”

What do you think?

77 thoughts on “Amnesty International Votes To Support Decriminalization of Sex Trade”

  1. Lox: That’s pretty funny. Would be very interested to see ANYTHING from Amnesty that backs this up. Ball’s in your court: Put up or …

  2. If you are sitting on a gold mine you should be allowed to mine it. It maybe that that is all that stands
    between a lady and extreme hunger.

  3. I have some antique Western brothel inspector badges and tokens that I got at an auction. I always wondered how a brothel inspector went about performing that job. 🙂

  4. There is an interesting book out there called A Renegade History of the United States. It covers in part the history of prostitution in the USA. It covers the history of people other than the political and economic elites. I enjoyed it even though I did not always agree with the author’s viewpoints.

    One interesting point is that, prior to the enactment of anti prostitution laws in the USA, some women became very wealthy running houses of prostitution.

    Lots of interesting factual tidbits to chew on.

    And I concur that making prostitution illegal is not s good idea.


    You must have known my father in your prior life. He was a prof at SIUE, but he started teaching there when the campus was still in E. St. Louis.

  5. BFM:

    LOL. In the area of one of my previous jobs was a massage parlor, right next to one of my favorite places to pick up food. I though it strange that the windows were darkly tinted and curtained, and I only saw men entering. I told my coworkers that I wanted to try it, because my back was bothering me, and they almost fell out of their chairs laughing.

    So I got a referral from my chiropractor to a reputable female PT and licensed massage practitioner. She’s awesome and employs Reiki, neuromuscular therapy, and other methods. She said the use of massage to front brothels is so rampant that she refuses to accept any new male clients unless they have a referral from either the chiropractor or one of her female clients. She said it’s so bad that it’s unsafe for her to accept a male client she doesn’t know, because he’s coming there expecting . . . something else.

  6. Any why is it legal to make a porn movie with complete strangers, who are paid to have sex with each other, but illegal to engage in prostitution? Isn’t it the same thing, except someone has a camera? Would that be a valid defense for a prostitution charge? To have a camera set up on a tripod?

  7. I’ve always thought it strange that it’s legal to be a courtesan with a Sugar Daddy, or have multiple “boyfriends” who pay the rent/bills, but illegal to be a prostitute. It’s your body to do with as you please. Of course it should be regulated and protections in place against abuse and sexual slavery.

    Can you imagine the job description on the government website for the person responsible for visiting brothels to ensure they comply with safe sex and STD testing requirements? Will they go undercover?

    On the other hand, this can have some implications. I’ve gone to Vegas a great many times. It’s off-putting to have those guys shove flyers for cat houses on men walking the Strip with their families. At least the Vegas bordellos have mandatory STD testing, although I’m not sure if there’s a black market side to that that is not regulated.

    It is a travesty how we handle prostitution of underage girls. They are arrested and returned to their pimps or their families who abuse them, when a great deal of them are the victims of sexual abuse, sexual slavery, and/or drug abuse. These young girls are victims, but they’re treated like criminals. I’ve read a few articles about successful experiments where the girls are instead funneled into treatment and counseling. Another all too common phenomenon here in border states is for “coyotes” (Mexicans who smuggle people across the border) to sell women and girls into prostitution and sexual slavery. What is also sad are the drug addicts who are reduced to selling their bodies to support their habit. They are also too far gone to make good decisions about protecting themselves from STDs.

    It really depends on whether it’s the woman’s choice or not.

    1. Karen S: To answer a number of your concerns:

      The brothel inspectors would likely be FBi agents tapped by OSHA, which is the government’s “health police.” They’re the ones who inspected porn sets when they were allowed to do so before the industry filed its lawsuit against such inspections.

      Regarding Nevada: Since prostitution is legal in all counties except the ones containing Reno and Las Vegas, there is most certainly illegal prostitution going on in those counties, but very undercover.

      I think we’re all agreed here that sexual slavery is bad, but most seem to feel that if a woman (or man) chooses to prostitute him/herself, that should be considered a legal profession and should not be subject to harassment by authorities but rather protected by them.

      Adult movies are not considered prostitution because the person paying the people to have sex is not him/herself the recipient of the sexual pleasure, plus since pornography is legal, making a XXX movie is a First Amendment-protected activity. The law recognizes that fact in California (the case was People v. Freeman, in 1988), New Hampshire and Manhattan; there have been no prosecutions of adult moviemaking in other states yet.

      1. markkernes – didn’t the FBI seize the Mustang Ranch in Nevada? Some govt agency did. And then they ran it. Think of explaining that to your wife. 😉

        1. Yeah, that was pretty funny. I seem to recall the ranch was seized over back taxes, and in order to recoup, the FBI hired someone to run the ranch, which was legal. Interestingly, a former sheriff’s deputy now runs Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump.

  8. What do you know… a comment in which I agree with D. Smith’s opinion is not deleted. #Principled

  9. I anni at 1102…..close on was chief mouthful at 11;10. If it’s going to be legal….then there should also be no crime in catching it and it ought to be fair game upon divorce….where all the money went………

  10. Nick’s statement just above mine at ten sixteen p.m., is the best summary of the problem of all the comments.

  11. I do not want to call it Politically Correct. But the word “whore” is kind of like the word Mexican. It gets preceded with the word friggin and the word friggin is usually a more harsh term. I always thought that “hooker” was a kinder and gentler term. We could go with “very short term wife”.

    I do not think it should be taxed or regulated. I think we should look at how it is done in Nevada (some counties) and Amsterdam.

    Speaking of Amsterdam. One can observe a different point of view in Europe over this endeavor. I have sat in bars and met couples who came in and start yakking. Once in a while the husband will be there on his birthday. Wife will admit to those of us around, and he will too, that he is about to go off for his birthday gift. Wife stays in the bar and husband goes off to the Red Light District right outside. He comes back after an hour or so all smiles and wife is happy for him. That is Europe. Different strokes for different folks.

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