FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2015
Contact: Abigail Fredenburg
Email: [email protected]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Amnesty International Council voted to authorize its Board of Directors to adopt a policy to advocate for the decriminalization of sex work. The policy explicitly states that human trafficking and coercion should remain illegal. The recommendation was affirmed at Amnesty’s International Council Meeting, held in Dublin, Ireland this week. Amnesty’s Board is slated to make a decision on the policy in October.
In response to Amnesty’s action today, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), a U.S.-based women’s rights organization that advocates for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls issued the following statement:
“Today marks a victory for sex workers everywhere. CHANGE is proud to stand with Amnesty International and its recommendation to its Board. Decriminalization of sex work is a critical step to protect the human rights of sex workers. It is also good health policy, as research has shown that decriminalization of sex work can reduce HIV infections globally. Human rights are universal and for everyone, sex workers included.”
“Decriminalization will help sex workers access legal and support services to report violence and abuse, whether at the hands of clients, police, or pimps – as well as help identify someone being trafficked and get them the services they need. CHANGE, like many women’s and human rights organizations, believes that human rights are universal and are for everyone. Sex workers are no exception.”
Last week, CHANGE joined 59 sex worker-led organizations, women’s and human rights organizations, and advocates from around the world in signing an open letter supporting the draft policy. “We support Amnesty International’s proposed policy, based on the core principles of human rights, to oppose the criminalization of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults. Amnesty International’s proposed policy builds on their own evidence – and community-based research that contributes to a growing consensus among UN agencies, sex worker organizers and health and human rights experts,” the letter stated.
International agencies including UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNDP, the WHO, and the World Bank have recognized the role that decriminalization of sex work plays in advancing public health outcomes and also advancing the human rights of sex workers. “The evidence is clear,” said Sippel.
“Decriminalization of sex work advances the health and human rights of sex workers everywhere.”