– Prostitution – Amnesty’s IS and IB acknowledge «flaws» in their consultation, after spotty and critical responses from members

Amnesty’s International’s London Secretariat and International Board acknowledge « flaws » in their consultation, after it met with spotty and critical responses from its membership.

Amnesty International leaders did not manage to gain any significant support from the organization’s National Sections for a Proposal on Prostitution circulated and advocated for internally over the last year (http://dailym.ai/1fjNH7L).

Indeed, a leaked internal Report* on this consultation indicates that they experienced major disaffection and blowback.
Nevertheless, AI’s consultation report indicates their intention to go on pressing for a “final policy position that calls for decriminalization of all aspects ofsex work” (i.e. pimping, brothel-owning, procuring and sex purchasing along with the practice of “sex workers themselves”).

Their initial Proposal was denounced by many feminists, first publicly by author Julie BINDEL on January 24, 2014, who called it “an abject inversion of its own principles” (http://dailym.ai/1onDvnK).

In a rather paternalist fashion, the consultation report announces “more work to be done to enable the movement to evaluate the competing issues” and bring back their proposed policy position to AI’s 2015 International Council Meeting for consideration.

Spotty response

Enthusiasm proved spotty for AI’s all-or-nothing proposal, with very few responses to its consultation (just over 40% of National Sections) and even less full support for it (only 4 sections out of the total 70).
Reportedly drafted by a pimp – Douglas Fox boasted so much in a sex industry newsletter –, this proposal called for the removal of “all laws and policies that make sex work a crime (such as laws prohibiting selling, buying or facilitating sex work, living off the proceeds of prostitution, or soliciting).”

AI’s SD Law and Policy now speculates in its consultation report about an “interim policy position” that would limit decriminalization efforts to “sex workers themselves”.

This choice of words suggests that – always in the interim – AI would no longer include in its definition of “sex workers”: pimps, procurers and other profiteers of other people’s prostitution. These would now merely be deemed to “facilitate” sex work, and AI would no longer demand the decriminalization of what it now refers to as “third-party offences”, given its consultation finding of a nearly unanimous lack of support for profiteers decriminalization among AI National Sections (Argentina, Austria, Hong Kong and the USA being its only supporters).

The English Canada Section of Amnesty voted “Maybe” on the proposal to fully decriminalize sex purchasers, possibly reflecting the current Nordic Model-inspired Bill C-36, now undergoing Justice Committee public hearings in Canada (http://www.cpac.ca/fr/direct/cpac2/).
The France, Denmark and Israel Sections endorsed the Nordic Model outright in their responses, in direct opposition to AI’s Proposal.
The struggle is ongoing throughout many National Sections, such as Australia Queensland and West Australia Sections where proposal aimed at the prostitution system were adopted a few days ago at a Melbourne general assembly, despite much intimidating catcalls from industry supporters.

*AI’s leaked Consultation Report is posted here in full, without comment: