Amnesty’s Decriminalise Sex Work Policy: An Open Letter to Hollywood Stars and Critics

As a sex worker, I want to share my perspective on the current debate around decriminalising sex work. Amnesty is drafting a policy recommending that sex work should be decriminalised, but there are Hollywood stars who have signed a letter stating that sex work should not be decriminalised. I want people to understand one simple point: Sex work is work. Sex trafficking and sex work are NOT the same thing. One is legitimate and consensual between adults, while the other is illegal and non-consensual.

I have previously blogged about decriminalisation and why it needs to happen. There are many reasons why decriminalisation is important. Firstly, by decriminalising sex work, sex workers have access to health resources and the ability to report violence to the police without fear of being arrested. This will help them to identify and report possible sex trafficking incidents.

Secondly, decriminalisation leads to increased safe work places, which will then decrease the level of violence towards sex workers and give them the ability to get assistance from law enforcement if required. This is important for their safety and well-being.

Thirdly, it helps to decrease stigma, which can have long-term harmful effects on mental health and relationships. Decriminalisation means that sex workers have the same rights as all other workers and access to the same resources.

Lastly, in terms of sex trafficking, decriminalisation makes it easier to report incidents of trafficking and also means that law enforcement can work together with those who choose to be in the industry to fight and end sex trafficking.

To those Hollywood stars and those who believe Amnesty shouldn’t support decriminalisation, I ask that you listen to those of us who are actually in the industry. Listen to how we feel about being criminalised or our clients being criminalised. Criminalising this industry pushes many underground, making it harder to access law enforcement if we experience violence and health resources that we need, putting us at more risk of sexual health issues and violence.

By not supporting decriminalisation, you are saying that our right to choose what we do for work or how we need to work to be safe is taken away. We are all someone’s child, someone’s parent, someone’s friend, or loved one. Don’t we deserve the same human rights as everyone else, the same right to work in our chosen careers?

You don’t have to like sex work in order to support decriminalisation. But all we ask is that you realise that we deserve to have the same rights to choose our job as everyone else. Not everyone likes police officers, politicians, dentists, and the list goes on, but we don’t take away their right to choose their careers. So why can’t it be the same for sex workers?


PETITION – We call on the Amnesty International Council to stand firm and support decriminalisation of sex work and protect the human rights of sex workers – Click Here to sign


#FacesofProstitution going viral – Consider this – Blog Post by Krissy Smith – Sex work & Trafficking

Sex workers tell Lena Dunham, other celebs to STFU about shit they don’t understand – DeathandTaxes – Written by Jamie Peck

Recent Discussions about Sex Workers both online and offline – Blog Post By Krissy Smith

Sex Workers From Around the World Tell Hollywood to Mind Its Own Business – Hit & Run Blog – Elizabeth Nolan Brown – July 31st 2015

Hollywood v. Amnesty International: The big battle over sex work – The Telegraph – Radhika Sanghani – (29/07/2015)

Have your say – Amnesty’s sex work policy – Amnesty Website – (02/04/2015)

‘Fame-seeking’ celebrities at war with Amnesty over legalizing prostitution – RT Question More – (29/07/2015)

8 Things to Know About Amnesty’s Draft Proposal on Sex Work – Huffington Post – Katherine Koster – (30/07/2015)

Lena Dunham doubles down on her dangerous opinions about sex work undefined – Death & Taxes – Jamie Peck – August 7th 2015

Consultation on draft sex work policy – Amnesty International

Here’s what Amnesty International’s Sex Work Proposal really means – The Huffington Post – Hilary Hanson – (08/04/2015)

Amnesty International to determine a policy position on decriminalisation sex work – Lindy Kerin – June 28 2014 – ABC News



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