Call to Action: Stand Firm and Protect the Human Rights of Sex Workers

Posted on August, 4 2015 by Action Canada

Support Amnesty International’s proposed policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work

NSWP and the undersigned, including Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, take this opportunity to express our support for Amnesty International’s draft policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work, which is to be tabled for adoption at the International Council Meeting, 6-11th August 2015. Amnesty International is facing a backlash from campaigners for proposing a policy that seeks to uphold the human rights of sex workers.

We ask the Amnesty International Council to stand firm and support decriminalisation of sex work and protect the human rights of sex workers.

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

NSWP would also like to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the CATW statement, open letter and online petition attacking Amnesty International’s proposals. CATW’s position is stigmatising, discriminatory and misrepresents the facts, conflating sex work with human trafficking. Most importantly it ignores the lived experiences of sex workers, silences their voices and seeks to perpetuate legal systems which place sex workers at increased risk of violence, stigmatisation, and discrimination; as well as limiting their access to health and social services. Furthermore, CATW is ignoring the overwhelming body of evidence and the findings of international bodies such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, who recommend that governments should work towards the decriminalisation of sex work and The Lancet which recently published a special series on HIV and Sex Workers, which also recommends the decriminalisation of sex work and reported “Decriminalisation of sex work would have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings, averting 33–46% of HIV infections in the next decade.”

There is a wide recognition among international agencies that the decriminalisation of sex work is necessary to protect and respect the human rights of sex workers. These agencies include; UNAIDS , UNFPA, UNDP, WHO, The World Bank , Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW) , Human Rights Watch , the Lancet, Open Society Foundations .

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) has issued a Statement of Support for Amnesty International setting out some of the extensive evidence that backs up Amnesty International’s call for the decriminalisation of sex work and calls on human rights defenders to stand with sex workers in supporting this progressive policy.

Please sign this petition to show support for the Amnesty International resolution to support decriminalisation of sex work and ensure the human rights of sex workers are upheld.

Click here to sign the petition

Follow Action Canada