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Live webchat with Amnesty International Tuesday 4th Feb, 11-12pm

(617 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Feb-14 11:27:58

Following the leaking of an Amnesty International policy document 'Decriminalisation of Sex Work: Policy Background', which argues that men who buy sex are ‘exercising their autonomy’ and should be allowed to do so ‘free from government interference’ there has been considerable discussion on the site and requests for a webchat.

Today, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK will be here between 11-12pm to answer your questions.

Please do join us live on Tuesday or ask your question on this thread in advance. Just a quick reminder that it’s one question per person; take a look at our webchat guidelines, here.



Helpyourself Mon 03-Feb-14 18:49:48

I can't get my head round this at all.
Kate, please could you start this web chat by stating what Amnesty's policy on prostitution is now and a timeframe for and conditions of, changing that policy.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Mon 03-Feb-14 19:08:38

Mnhq, do you think it might be wise to only allow established users of MN to ask questions as I think it is likely that you will get a load of MRA trolls people using this as a chance to spread a pro prostitution agenda? And will make it less likely for actual mners to be able to get their questions answered?

Maybe only people registered before last week when the document was linked?

gussiegrips Mon 03-Feb-14 19:21:27

Your ludicrous and offensive policy reminds me of the "Comfort Stations" for Japanese Soldiers during the Second World War. The belief at that time was that, men NEED sex, and, if they don't get it they become dangerous and unmanageable animals.

Offensive on many fronts. But, that was the Olden Days...oh, wait.

I am ashamed to be a member of Amnesty. Which, is easily fixed.

beatricequimby Mon 03-Feb-14 19:39:42

Do you think that adopting a policy of decriminalising the buying of sex will have an impact on your schools' groups?

I used to run a successful Amnesty School Group. On a personal level, I will no longer be involved with Amnesty if you adopt this policy. On a more pragmatic level, I think many Headteachers and parents will no longer see Amnesty as an appropriate organisation to be working in schools if you take a position that men should have the right to buy sex.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoniMatopoeia Mon 03-Feb-14 19:41:57

Can you not see that saying sex is a human right even fir those not willing to access it through normal /traditional relationship is a rapists fantasy?

My question is this. I would like to know the definition that you have of consent . Given the global nature of your organisation, and the many reasons that women and children all over the world might find it necessary to enter prostitution ?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HermioneWeasley Mon 03-Feb-14 19:50:54

Why has AI not explicitly addressed the many issues and concerns around the "sex is a human right" footnote? I have written twice and just got the standard response with no clarification on this point.

horsetowater Mon 03-Feb-14 19:59:25

Question - If 'sex work' is decriminalised does that mean young girls will be able to put their hands up at school and say with pride that when they grow up they want to be a prostitute and go and do a BTEC in Sex Work?

I think even considering this is completely abhorrent. Condoning prostitution is condoning institutionalised, normalised rape.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 03-Feb-14 20:08:59

I think that is a good idea, Vegetarians,

Exitedwoman Mon 03-Feb-14 20:27:38

Amnesty, the majority of money made in prostitution goes to the pimps. In any other 'work' you might say that is simply the nature of business. But it's not like any other work. This is a situation where nearly all the punters are male, and nearly all the so-called 'workers' are female or children. The damage it causes to those 'bought' is tremendous, the rates of PTSD have been shown to affect more than two thirds of us. The way your document reads, there is no issue of men buying women here, it's all 'persons' and 'persons' needs for sex'. I find this highly insincere.

The document also states that sex is important and some 'persons' cannot have a fulfilling sex life unless commercial sex is involved. Should those persons' 'needs' override the debilitating affects on the women and children they are buying?

The 'Swedish Model' has been shown to reduce the demand to use women and children as disposable objects and it's reduced violence and death towards the prostituted. Why do you not support it? There are ways to make prostitution safer whilst sending a clear message to certain 'persons' that what they are doing is in contravention to human rights. What sort of organisation are you? Where is the integrity?

DominaElle Mon 03-Feb-14 20:36:43

Criminalizing sex work DOES NOT protect children from exploitation! Laws which address the trafficking and exploitation of children as well as adults are on the books currently and should be enforced! Criminalizing consensual sex work and sex workers or their clients will have absolutely no effect on trafficking! It may make certain people feel better about things but it's a sick joke to believe anti prostitution laws help trafficking victims or prevent trafficking!

FairPhyllis Mon 03-Feb-14 20:37:19

Dear Kate

If "sex work" is decriminalised, would it be acceptable for a benefits claimant to be told they must apply for work as a prostitute or lose benefits?

Beachcomber Mon 03-Feb-14 20:37:38

Hello Kate Allen and welcome to Mumsnet.

Does Amnesty International deny that the institution of prostitution, is, and always has been, an overwhelmingly gendered phenomenon, which, additionally, takes place within a global context of male dominated society in which girls and women have historically (and are currently) subsequently awarded lower; status, degree of freedom, opportunity and agency with regards to their fundamental human rights and bodily integrity, compared to that of boys and men, and that therefore to talk of the 'human right' to buy sex, and the 'human right' to sell sex, is, in reality, to talk of the human right for men to buy and sell sexual access to women?

If this is your position, how do you reconcile the above with presenting yourselves as an organisation that has in the past declared itself as concerned with the human rights of all humans regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc, or do you consider women to be less human than men, particularly poor women, women of colour, indigenous women, young women, homeless women and women who are disadvantaged by systematic structural oppression manifestations and oppressive social constructs such as class, single motherhood, domestic violence, the feminization of poverty and rape culture?

If you do not answer this question, I will assume that the answer is yes.

Thank you.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 03-Feb-14 20:51:58

Great question Beachcomber - you expressed (much more eloquently) exactly what I wanted to ask.

DominaElle Mon 03-Feb-14 20:55:41

The majority of consensual sex workers DO NOT HAVE PIMPS as they work independently! The assertion that there is an army of pimps is simply not true. In the United States anyway, even with gang culture where you will find most of the pimps- as far as the adult industry goes it's vastly independent providers! This campaign echoes the anti prostitution campaign pushed by thomas Edison's company back in 1914. The very first exploitation film ever released was released by Edison and was called TRAFFIC IN SOULS and was the prototype for EXPLOITATION films! In 1910 there were tremendous scares about forced prostitution no different than what we are experiencing now! There was no epidemic in forced prostitution then and there is no epidemic now either. It does happen and it must be addressed but just as in 1914 the reality boils down to an anti porn anti prostitution campaign based on hysteria!

SinaMore Mon 03-Feb-14 20:57:51

While I agree that criminalizing the buying of sex is a grave human rights violation of the bodily autonomy of buyers (NOT because there is a "right to sex, but because there is a right to have CONSENSUAL Sex , and that is of course what Amnesty International means), I'm more interested in the human rights abuses against sex workers in the name of "saving" them as I'm a sex worker myself.

Question: I have noticed that most legitimate social service organizations for victims of human trafficking as well as social services for sex workers and migrant women are against criminalizing the buying of sex and strict regulations for the industry (for example, because sex workers are afraid of going to the police if they face the risk of being harassed and losing their income or even home and children). How do you explain that the recommendations of actual experts gets so little attention in the broad media and by most politicians, or are dismissed if they become public?

BriarRainbowshimmer Mon 03-Feb-14 21:01:20

Mnhq, do you think it might be wise to only allow established users of MN to ask questions as I think it is likely that you will get a load of MRA trolls people using this as a chance to spread a pro prostitution agenda? And will make it less likely for actual mners to be able to get their questions answered?

Agree with this.

TravelinColour Mon 03-Feb-14 21:02:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Mon 03-Feb-14 21:07:16

JacqueslePeacock, thank you. I hope we get an answer. A real one, not some flannely shite with neutralized language which ignores/dismisses/attempts to invisibleize the gendered nature of prostitution and by consequence of sex trafficking and punting.

Agree that this thread will send out a klaxon to non MNers with an agenda.

FloraFox Mon 03-Feb-14 21:31:14

MNHQ - given AIUK's shoddy performance at the NIA Committee last week, can we get some assurance from MNHQ that Kate Allen will answer questions about their policy statement that state interference with men who are unable or unwilling to obtain sex by the "traditional" are a breach of their right to privacy and health? I am going to re-arrange my day tomorrow so that I can participate in this web chat and I am concerned about AI flanneling this fundamental issue, as they did at the NIA. I'll be very disappointed if all we get is guff about more research.

Beachcomber Mon 03-Feb-14 21:37:38

In total agreement of FloraFox's above post.

I too (and I'm sure many other MNers) will be juggling personal/work commitments in order to be present and I hope that Amnesty International and Ms Allen, as their representative, will do some straight talking.

We will have to draw our own conclusions if they don't.

rhinoceer Mon 03-Feb-14 21:41:19

I think it's fair users registered before this thread was created should have a chance to post a Q, that way we won't have people signing up just to ask a Q. And I think it's fair both sides of the debate including those in support of Amnesty's stance should be included.

My question for Amnesty is what do you have to say to allegations that you work with "pimps" for financial gain? Can you clarify if this is your main motive for wanting decriminalization or is your main motive to make sex work/prostitution safer?

ChazzerChaser Mon 03-Feb-14 21:54:11

With all the many many injustices going on in the world, why the fuck did AI think that men's 'need' for sex was the most important thing to fight for? If it had been an, albeit misguided*, attempt to defend the rights of prostituted women, I'd get it. But that document refers to men's, sorry people's silly me, 'need' for sex. Seriously?!

*misguided as in it won't achieve it's aims through the model you are proposing

PlentyOfPubeGardens Mon 03-Feb-14 21:57:58

Yes, what Vegetarians said, if it's technically possible.

Meanwhile, welcome to our new members smile

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