viernes, 7 de agosto de 2015

Amnesty’s bid to declare prostitution a human right is just the latest symptom of a cultural derailment.

Amnesty International’s new human rights cause: prostitution

by Carolyn Moynihan

What would yesterday’s prisoners of conscience think of the right to sell oneself?

This weekend, delegates at an international conference of Amnesty International are due to vote on a proposal that Amnesty should advocate the full decriminalisation of prostitution. That’s right; the organisation founded to shame governments into releasing prisoners of conscience, might next week be lobbying states to remove the last shackles from a trade that most people still regard as shameful. And all in the name of human rights.

This drama is to play out in Dublin, the new world capital of sexual enlightenment, while from Hollywood and other benighted locations the protests of celebrities such as Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and 1960s feminist icon Gloria Steinem ring out in support of women’s groups that are appalled at this development.

Since its early days Amnesty’s mission has evolved to cover a wide field of human rights, and this is the basis of its argument for the removal of penalties not only for sellers of sex, which is already widely accepted, but also for buyers and brothel keepers, which is not. The rights in question range from physical integrity and health, through “just and favourable conditions of work”, to privacy and freedom of (sexual) expression. Together they amount to a human right to buy and sell sex.

According to a leaked draft policy circulating since early last year, legal sanctions, even when limited to bans on street work and corralling of “sex work” into red light districts, contravene the freedom of “sex workers” and their clients to express themselves, and undermine conditions supporting the health and safety of the “workers” and other basic rights such as decent housing.

However, in drawing the blanket of human rights over what has always been regarded as a human weakness, Amnesty risks debasing the concept while exposing even more people to real human rights abuses. And by refusing to talk about human dignity (I could not find the word in the draft document), the organisation closes off a moral perspective that still has meaning for society.



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