Amnesty calls for legal prostitution

Laws that ban people from buying or selling sex should be scrapped because they breach their human rights, according to Amnesty International.

A policy document drawn up by the charity claims that prostitutes, pimps and men who buy sex are simply ‘exercising their autonomy’ and should be allowed to do so ‘free from government interference’.

The proposal, which also bizarrely compares prostitutes to coal miners and domestic servants, was uncovered by writer Julie Bindel.

It has now sparked a major row within the organisation, which is best known for its attempts to free political prisoners and campaigns against torture.

Last night critics said Amnesty was ‘losing the plot’ with one former member accusing the organisation of ‘betraying women’s rights’. They told the Mail: ‘We do not solve the problems for women in the developing world by encouraging them to be prostitutes. Who benefits from that? The men. Prostitution is a form of exploitation and abuse – not a choice.’

The paper, which is titled Decriminalisation of Sex Work: Policy Background Document, states: ‘Amnesty International is opposed to the criminalisation or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults.

‘The criminalisation of voluntary sex between adults, whether for direct monetary gain or otherwise, threatens the rights to health, non-discrimination, equality, privacy, and security of person.’

Laws against prostitution undermine the right to ‘freely chosen gainful work’ and any legislation that targets men who pay for sex will leave prostitutes particularly vulnerable to ‘violence and abuse’, the document claims.

It also says countries should support the right of prostitutes to ‘freedom of association’ – thought to refer to groups of prostitutes setting up brothels.

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Saudi forces nab women, children

Saudi forces nab women, children

Saudi women hold an anti-regime demo (file photo)

Saudi women hold an anti-regime demo (file photo)
Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:44PM GMT
Saudi Arabian security forces have arrested dozens of women and at least five children as the regime has intensified the crackdown on opposition demonstrations in the country.

According to human rights activists, women and children were captured on Saturday after anti-government demonstrations were held in two Saudi cities, Riyadh and Buraida, CNN reported on Sunday.

The women and children were calling on the authorities to free their relatives, who have been held for years without access to lawyers or a trial, the activists said.

Mohammed Al-Qahtani, a prominent Saudi rights activist, said the protesters are “relatives of political prisoners.”

“They are asking the authorities to either take these prisoners to court,” said Al-Qahtani, “or set them free.”

Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

In October 2012, Amnesty International called on the Saudi authorities to stop using excessive force against pro-democracy protestors.

“The Saudi authorities must end their repeated moves to stifle people’s attempts to protest against the widespread use of arbitrary detention in the country,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said on October 16.

“The right of people to peaceful protest must be respected and the security forces must refrain from detaining or using excessive force against people who exercise it,” he added.

There have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province since February 2011, with protestors calling for political reform.

Anti-government protests have intensified since November 2011, when security forces opened fire on protestors in Qatif, killing five people and leaving scores more injured.