Why I Support Amnesty International’s Call to Decriminalize Sex Workers

Tomorrow, Amnesty International starts deciding whether to formally adopt its draft call to end the criminalization of consenting, adult sex workers. I just added my voice to a petition supporting Amnesty’s sensible proposal, which strongly distinguishes between sex work among consenting adults, and trafficking and children in sex work, which are already illegal.

The petition was organized by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, whose membership is made of “237 sex worker-led organisations in 71 countries across the globe.” This petition calls for the full support of Amnesty’s proposal, and defends it against the list of famous actors attacking Amnesty publicly.

(The actors call instead for a version of the “Swedish model” on sex work, which is almost universally condemned by sex work activists. Here is an article in the New Republic by a female sex worker showing all the severe problems with the Swedish model, and showing why most sex work activists instead support the New Zealand model of decriminalization and harm reduction, similar to Amnesty’s proposed model.)

Here is what I wrote along with my petition. Please join me in supporting Amnesty International and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects by signing this petition before the meeting, so that Amnesty doesn’t get swayed out of their important proposal. You can also find much more information via #Amnesty4SexWorkers on Twitter.


[Why did I sign this petition?] “Because there is nothing wrong with selling or buying sexual services if the people doing so are consenting adults. Adult sex workers are, first and foremost, adults, and should have the full right to choose to use their own bodies however they please, with safety and protection under the law just like any other worker. Clients should have the option to explore their sexuality however they please with consenting adult sex workers without the shaming and stigmatization of criminalization. Trafficking and using children in sex work are already illegal. Decriminalization of consensual adult sex work will reduce every individual and social harm and risk associated with sex work, while making illegal trafficking and use of children in sex work easier to discern and prosecute. I’m sorry that so many well-intentioned actors got roped into lending their credibility to attack Amnesty’s totally sensible and well-thought-out Draft Policy. I stand in full support of Amnesty’s Policy, and of the sex workers and sex work organizations that have raised their voices to defend it.” -M.E.

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