by Julie Bindel
Tuesday, 25
January 2022
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15:45

Amnesty’s stance on prostitution is hurting women

Decriminalising the purchase of sex will only help the industry grow
by Julie Bindel
Credit: Getty

‘Research reveals how sex workers are forced to risk their life in order to avoid police,’ reads a new report by Amnesty International, Ireland. The report, entitled ‘”We live within a violent system”: Structural violence against sex workers In Ireland’, is based on interviews with a small sample of 30 individuals currently or previously involved in the Irish sex trade. Their aim is to discredit and repeal a 2017 law in Ireland that criminalises the buying of sex, which Amnesty argues makes the punters more violent, even though there is no credible evidence for this.

Yet this hasn’t stopped Amnesty pursuing their foolhardy crusade. Along with a number of other male-led human rights organisations, it seems hellbent on blaming everyone — the police, legal system and even the state — for violence towards sex workers, except for the perpetrators, namely pimps and punters. Instead, Amnesty calls for the decriminalisation of “all operational aspects” of the sex trade, including the sale, facilitation and buying of sex. Under this regime, a pimp becomes a manager, a sex buyer a client, and a prostituted person a ‘sex worker’.

The research behind this report is flawed. Aside from the suspiciously small sample, a number of the interviewees are lobbyists for full decriminalisation of the sex trade in Ireland. Those interviewed claim to be ‘independent’ sex workers, which is a misrepresentation of the sex trade population, the majority of whom are pimped, trafficked and otherwise coerced.

Amnesty also takes the line that disabled men have a right to access sex via prostitution. Its global policy position, published in 2016 reads:

For some—in particular persons with mobility or sensory disabilities or those with psycho-social disabilities that hamper social interactions—sex workers are persons with whom they feel safe enough to have a physical relationship or to express their sexuality.
- Amnesty

Legalisation has been a disaster in the countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland etc.) that have adopted such a position. Under this regime, demand, the trafficking of women and girls, and the illegal brothel sector has grown, as have murders of prostituted women, primarily by pimps and punters.

In Germany, which legalised its sex trade in the Seventies, there are approximately 400,000 women in prostitution, and around 1.2 million men buy sex every day. As Helmut Sporer, former Detective Chief Superintendent of the Crimes Squad, Augsburg, has admitted:

[Legalisation] has led to a massive reduction of the legal standing of the women. What has developed is a legally instituted relationship of precedence and subordination that is being exploited by the profiteers in the red-light business.
- Helmut Sporer

Prostitution is a form of violence in a world in which human flesh has come to be viewed as a commodity, and yet Amnesty, supposedly on the side of the oppressed, has chosen to treat the buying and selling of women as a job like any other.

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Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
10 months ago

Amnesty International Ireland lost a tremendous amount of credibility when they signed a letter calling for gender-critical feminists to be silenced. If the letter was not so chilling it would be laughable, as in it, Amnesty International Ireland “repudiate[d] the beliefs” of “organizations that seek to defend biology”. After that, who can take anything they say seriously?

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
10 months ago

I must confess that I thought that the statement abnove was so ridiculous that you must have made it up, so I looked it up. All I can say is – sorry that I doubted you, otherwise words fail me.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago

“Amnesty International”

a sick organization

Jill Abigail
Jill Abigail
10 months ago

I stopped my support of Amnesty when they began using the language of transgenderism – calling pregnant women “pregnant people”, etc. “Disappointed” is inadequate a word to describe how I feel about the organisation’s swallowing of this lunacy.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago

This is just another step in destroying the family.

If, as I do, you feel the entire base of a society is the family, then it is a nations most precious thing.

A family is based on (man and woman for the most part) a couple having children whom they spend their greatest effort on, raising them to be successful, moral, and loving – and then this extending up and down to the greater family. During these years of raising family – 20s – 50s are the peak times of both productivity and consumption of any demographic. They make the basis of an economy – wile raising those who will then take that position in their turn, and also contribute (through taxes and personal support) to the maintenance of the elderly, as they will, in their turn, be supported by the younger workers.

It is a great wheel. The young supported by the parents and society Taxes. The adults raising the children, supporting and instructing them to be good citizens in their turn, and then old age where the young you raised support you, as you did once, for your elderly.

Break any link and the society falls apart. The Family is all. Sexual exclusivity and constancy are the very heart of family. We are designed this way. Being a professional sex worker is not useful for society, but damages both the worker – and their clients. As vice always exists – and most people caught up in it are unfortunate, so need some tolerating – but we need to remember vice is a negative to society, and not further its acceptance and volume.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Wow, How old-fashioned you are, how out of touch with modern mores you are – and how right you are.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
10 months ago

Great post.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
10 months ago

Good piece Julie.

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
10 months ago

Roughly 25 million German men between the ages of 18 and 65. Four per cent buying sex every day. Really? The source, please. Around 400 million purchases every year. Seems a lot to me.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
10 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

I agree with your scepticism. We should never accept statistics unless we know something about how they were derived, because so many factors can be critical, such as the size and method of selection, and if based on a questionnaire, the wording of questions and veracity of answers. The source isn’t mentioned here. However, one can’t disbelieve it either, just because it’s outside one’s experience.
As it happens, when visiting a German town several years ago, my host took me to see what appeared to be a market place for prostitutes (just to gawp, I hasten to add, and we never left the car). I can tell you, it looked extremely busy! I have never seen or heard anything remotely like it here.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
10 months ago

I came to the conclusion that from a noble start, Amnesty International lost its way many years ago. And it’s not as though there weren’t still far too many imprisoned in totalitarian states who need to be remembered.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
10 months ago

If you make buying sex a crime, only criminals will buy sex. And if you’re a criminal you’re going to behave like one.
Why is this not bleedin’ obvious?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
10 months ago

Amnesty’s antisemitism is also an absolute disgrace. Its advocacy of an arms embargo against Israel manifestly falls foul of the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism.

Last edited 10 months ago by Drahcir Nevarc
James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago

You know who is against the criminalization of sex? Sex workers.
More man-hating from JB. Where sex work is legal, the safety of the workers goes up, conditions and wages improve, and these workers are treated with respect and dignity.
Remember when Freddie interviews Aella, the sex worker?
https://youtu.be/HlW2QdzZuZ8
Watch again. Aellla has more brains in her little finger than JB has in her whole body.
Why does UnHerd give this cretin a platform?

Mathilda Eklund
Mathilda Eklund
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

More woman hating for JJ..? Why you even read it? Just don’t if you hate her so much and you can save your energy by not commenting on every single article she publishes here. Or you do actually kind of just like to whine about things you don’t agree with like a child..?

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago

Ah, Matilda, from Sweden?–welcome back. Perhaps you were at a womyn’s march in favor of Afghan girls going to school in Stockholm–you’re not willing to fight for this yourself, I suppose, leave that to the men…
I’m a bit disappointed in you: while you were marching you missed an opportunity to rubbish me for another post against JB, and her moronic article on men drinking breast milk. JB can only write so much, so please, be sure to slam me every chance you get!
And you can do better–up your game! “….whining like a child?” Really? Is that the best, the very best you can do? Frankly, I’m disappointed–I expected better from you.
“More woman hating for JJ?” Really? Perhaps you did not notice I was singing the praises of Aella–also a woman–but a very smart and articulate one at that. Is it OK to praise some (smart) women, and be against other (dumb) women, i.e. Mutti Merkel, if they are public figures? Perhaps you demand that I agree with you?
How “liberal!”

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Aellla has more brains in her little finger than JB has in her whole body.” Nah, JB has made a good living for herself and acquired status despite not having looks.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

Or brains