UN Agency’s Stance on Prostitution is Protested

Former prostitutes and groups campaigning against sex trafficking will launch an international protest against UN reports that recommend the decriminalization of pimping, brothel-keeping and the purchase of sex. The protesters claim that decriminaliaation of the sex trade will endanger women.

“Governments around the world look to the United Nations to determine their policy and I am dismayed that any part of the UN would call for the decriminaliaation of pimping and brothel-keeping,” said Lauren Hersh, the New York director of the women’s rights group Equality Now. “We don’t believe these reports’ recommendations will make women safer and decriminalisation provides an attractive environment for traffickers, pimps and organized crime.”

The reports come from the UN Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids), which wants to battle the disease among prostitutes by helping them demand condom use and report abuse to the police. The UN’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law calls for countries to “repeal laws that prohibit consenting adults to buy or sell sex” and that ban “immoral earnings” and brothel-keeping, and also demands measures “to ensure safe conditions for sex workers”. A UNAids report on the Asia-Pacific region recommends removing offenses relating to soliciting, procuring, pimping and management of brothels – but only among those in the industry voluntarily.A statement from UNAids disputed that its recommendations would put women at risk. “We do not view sex work as the same as trafficking or sexual exploitation, which are clear human rights abuses and crimes,” said the statement.

While acknowledging reluctantly that it would be tough ever to stamp out prostitution, Hersh insisted that prosecuting clients was the most effective route, along with funding exit strategies for prostitutes into housing, job training and related services.”If you eliminate demand you are going to reduce exploitation and sex trafficking. It’s as much about prevention as anything else in the hope that fewer women and girls are going to end up in prostitution in future,” she said.

Learn more at Joanna Walters’ The Guardian article: Campaigners protest against United Nations stance on prostitution.

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