Rachel Moran, co-founder of Space International anti-sex trade group and herself a survivor of the ‘sex trade’, described Amnesty’s decision as “breathtakingly disgraceful”.
“When I first heard this proposal, I got very emotional, I have been through a lot and I am not a woman who usually gets emotional. But this is an insult, from the most publicly recognized human rights body in the world, who are saying everything that happened to me was completely normal, above board and ought to be legal.”
Amnesty’s decision is viewed as dangerous by critics, as the human rights organization could use its lobbying clout to encourage governments to agree to its approach.
Meanwhile, many former sex workers have been quoted speaking out against the decision. “We feel that Amnesty International are supporting the men who are killing our women and it’s a slap in the face,” The Guardian quoted Bridget Perrier, who was sold into sex work at the age of 12, as saying. “This is a human rights violation in itself.”
Ahead of the vote, the US-based Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) penned an open letter saying that Amnesty’s name would be “severely tarnished” if it approved the policy.
The open letter was signed by women’s rights groups, doctors and stars including Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.
“There’s no logic behind the premise that in order to protect those who are exploited you have to decriminalise the exploiter. It makes no sense,” states CATW executive director, Taina Bien.