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dimanche 16 août 2015
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
The big word in Amnesty’s defense of voting to decriminalize the sex industry is protection. All was done to protect the women in prostitution. We were told that the right to buy sex and the right to pimp are measures necessary to protect women in prostitution. In the lead up to the vote, the organization was offended by those who pointed out that its alleged objective of protecting women is a protection racket for pimps and prostitution users.
Amnesty’s policy goes far beyond decriminalizing the women but also decriminalizes the perpetrators — the men who procure women and those who buy them for sexual gratification by contributing the funds that keep sexual slavery alive and well.
An alleged poverty program for poor women
It was Ken Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, tweeting his support for Amnesty’s proposal to decriminalize the sex industry, who gave this game away in saying : “Why deny poor women the option of voluntary sex work ?” Ken joined the chorus of johns who spout a welfare narrative to justify their sexual exploitation by turning it into a virtue. He echoed the American prostitution user interviewed in the Philippines : “These girls gotta eat, don’t they ? I’m putting bread on their plate. I’m making a contribution.”
A policy initiated by the perpetrators who are beneficiaries
As Julie Bindel first revealed, Amnesty took to heart the lobbying of Douglas Fox, co-founder of a UK escort agency who claimed credit for Amnesty’s draft policy advocating full decriminalization of the sex industry. In 2008 as a member of Amnesty, Fox urged the organization not only to support “sex workers” by promoting full decriminalization but also pushed his associates in the sex industry to join the organization and lobby from inside. “Getting Amnesty on side will be a huge boost to our morale... we need to pursue them mercilessly and get them on side,” he said. Amnesty tried to distance itself from Fox by arguing he was not a current member and had no input into the policy, but his fingerprints and those he represents were all over it.
A policy supported by “sex workers,” but not by survivors of prostitution
Amnesty listened to one group of women who claim to represent all women in prostitution – those who call themselves sex workers — and most media accounts never challenged this assertion. Amnesty acted as if only “sex workers” speak for women in prostitution.
There are two voices that claim the authority of experience. One voice – survivors of prostitution and their allies – maintain that prostitution is violence against women. It asserts that defending the rights of women in prostitution requires prosecuting their perpetrators including pimps and prostitution users, and decriminalizing the victims. This means providing women in prostitution not simply with safe-sex education but also with life alternatives.
The other voice – sex workers – is louder, commands more media presence, makes prostitution look sexy, and seems to enjoy more financial support. Those speaking as “sex workers” argue that protecting women means that women should be free to hire “managers,” otherwise known as pimps, and that “clients,” otherwise known as johns, buyers or prostitution users, should be protected from any legislation such as the Nordic model that makes them accountable for their use and abuse of prostituted women. The misbegotten Amnesty policy, as voted on August 11, 2015, may protect sex workers and their allies, a relatively privileged minority of women and some men who seem to shill for the sex industry on websites and social media. However, it doesn’t protect the millions of women made vulnerable and marginalized by class, financial disadvantage, race, homelessness, war and conflict, and past sexual abuse who are caught in systems of prostitution and for whom there are few exits.
A policy that creates the impression that pimps and prostitution users are not only deprived of their rights but are also protectors of the human rights of women
Throughout this year, Amnesty could hardly bring itself to utter the word “pimp” or “prostitution user.” It was as if by avoiding these terms, Amnesty could magically transform these perpetrators overnight into legitimate managers, cordial clients and agents of all good things for women in prostitution. Rather than simply defending the women and their right to be free from being criminalized for their own exploitation, Amnesty defended the rights of their exploiters as being necessary to women’s freedom.
When one of the world’s most respected human rights groups maintains that punishing prostitution users “may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health,” something is seriously wrong with their view of human rights. Siding with the view that penalizing the buyers drives prostitution underground, Amnesty claimed that women would be made to take bigger risks. What is underground ? Indoor prostitution, the Internet ? There is no evidence for this claim.
There is also a blatant contradiction in the claim that punishing the buyers drives women underground into more dangerous locations. When the same advocates promote decriminalizing the sex industry, they argue that indoor venues are safer than on-street locations. When their aim is to discredit laws penalizing the buyers, they allege that indoor venues are more dangerous because they are more underground. Critics cannot have it both ways.
It’s the prostitution industry, not any law penalizing the buyers, which forces women to take bigger risks. Buyers are a major part of that risk. Women in prostitution everywhere have to make choices, even endangering their lives when buyers are violent, controlling, and insist on no condoms or risky sexual practices.
A protection policy and a vote based on secrecy and closed doors
Amnesty allegedly promotes an open society free from authoritarianism and based on transparency. From the get-go, however, those other than approved Amnesty members were not privy to the actual policy or its various incarnations. Few outside the inner circle even knew what the final document contained and what specifically the delegates were voting for or against. And only Amnesty representatives know the contours of the internal debate, what country delegations voted yes or no, and what the actual vote count was. Amnesty has conducted itself as a closed society and with a secret ballot.
Amnesty ignored the diversity of opponents to its proposed policy of decriminalizing the sex industry. For example, when the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) launched their petition on Change.org, social media was filled with attacks on the “privileged celebrities” who “know nothing about prostitution,” as if they were the only opponents of the policy. The attacks disregarded the multiple signers representing international NGOs, anti-trafficking organizations, politicians, journalists, lawyers, service providers, women’s crisis centers, policy makers, social workers, psychologists, women’s rights activists and survivors. Amnesty discounted the petition of hundreds of academics and researchers who have worked for years on policies and projects related to prostitution and trafficking in women. The organization also snubbed former President Jimmy Carter’s own petition on Change.org, and his name was seldom mentioned on social media as an opponent of Amnesty’s policy. And the survivors petition was made invisible.
Amnesty has given a gift to pimps and prostitution users and in doing so, it has become a major donor to some of the most violent scum of the earth. In its callous and flagrant disregard for survivors, Amnesty has corrupted its core mission – to defend the rights of the most vulnerable. Amnesty has awarded a dignity to pimps and prostitution users they could get no place else. Amnesty has done this in the name of protecting women. Tell them “Not in our name !”
French text here.
Janice G. Raymond is the author of many books and articles, including the most recent book : Not a Choice, Not a Job - Exposing the myths about prostitution and the global sex trade, Dulles (Virginia), 2013.
Online, on Sisyphe, August 15th, 2015
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