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What Decriminalizing Sex Work Would Mean47:22
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With guest host John Donvan

Amnesty International votes to support decriminalizing sex work. Prostitution. We’ll dig into why, and the reaction.

Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, walk towards the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, as part of a demonstration asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP)
Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, walk towards the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, as part of a demonstration asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP)

It may be the most controversial stance in its 55 year history. The human rights organization Amnesty International is calling for an end to making sex work a crime globally. After debating the issue for two years, the group says its just-announced position will destigmatize and protect women working in the industry. Sex workers themselves overwhelmingly support the move. But critics say it will lead to more sex trafficking than ever, and amounts to a perverse assertion: prostitution as a human right, which will protect pimps more than anyone else. This hour On Point: Amnesty International on sex work: forward thinking, or blunder?
-- John Donvan

Guests

Doreen Carvajal, European culture correspondent for the New York Times. (@dorcarvajal)

Catherine Murphy, policy advisor at Amnesty International.
Taina Bien-Aime, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. (@tainabienaime)
Kate D'Adamo, national policy advocate at the Sex Workers Project. (@KateDAdamo)

From The Reading List

Amnesty International: Global Movement Votes to Adopt Policy to Protect Human Rights of Sex Workers — "The resolution recommends that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. The policy will also call on states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence."

New York Times: Amnesty International Votes for Policy Calling for Decriminalization of Prostitution — "After days of emotional debates and intense lobbying, delegates from Amnesty International voted on Tuesday to support a policy that calls for decriminalization of the sex trade, including prostitution, payment for sex and brothel ownership. The vote came on the last day of a biennial meeting in Dublin of about 400 members of the human rights organization from 60 countries. They had gathered to set the group’s future policies.

The Nation: Amnesty International’s Long-Due Support for Sex Workers Rights — "The symbolic birth of the modern sex workers’ rights movement was forty years ago this summer, when sex workers occupied a church in Lyon, protesting police harassment and violence. They have since inspired sex workers across the world. Over the years, mainstream human rights groups have made steps to join them in supporting sex workers’ rights."

This program aired on August 13, 2015.

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