A Human Rights Scandal

In August 2015 the leadership of Amnesty International voted in favour of a policy advocating full decriminalisation of the sex trade – brothel keeping included. This is counter to what the End Demand Alliance is calling for. As the Crown Prosecution Service rightly recognises, prostitution is violence against women. We need legislation that decriminalises selling sex, but that also holds exploiters – sex buyers and brothel keepers included – to account. That legislation is known as the Sex Buyer Law.

Today it has been revealed that the Vice President of an organisation cited in Amnesty’s draft policy was convicted of sex trafficking in March this year and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. That organisation, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), was also appointed Co-Chair of the UNAIDS ‘Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work’, and that Advisory Group authored an influential section of a UNAIDS report advocating the decriminalisation of pimping and brothel keeping.

We are deeply troubled that a group whose Vice President – Alejandra Gil – was convicted for trafficking is explicitly cited by Amnesty International in support of its draft policy on prostitution, and that the group has had official influencing ties with a UN agency. The policies that NSWP have advised on must be subject to an urgent review, and an investigation conducted into how this group was granted a formal influencing role by a UN agency.

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