Amnesty International Votes to Support Decriminalization of Sex Work

Aug 11, 2015 10:29 AM PST

DUBLIN — Amnesty International today adopted a resolution to develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.

The resolution, passed today in Dublin at Amnesty International’s decision-making forum, also asks states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence. 

Delegates from around the world adopted a resolution that authorized the group’s international board to develop and adopt a policy on the issue.

“Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue,” said Salil Shetty, the secretary general of Amnesty International.

Shetty noted that violations that sex workers can be exposed to include physical and sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion and harassment, human trafficking, forced HIV testing and medical interventions. They can also be excluded from healthcare and housing services and other social and legal protections. 

Amnesty International, Shetty said, considers human trafficking abhorrent in all of its forms, including sexual exploitation, and should be criminalized as a matter of international law.  

“This is a historic day for Amnesty International,” Shetty said. “It was not a decision that was reached easily or quickly and we thank all our members from around the world, as well as all the many groups we consulted, for their important contribution to this debate. They have helped us reach an important decision that will shape this area of our human rights work going forward.”

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