What I did in the past was wrong. There is no excuse for using the poverty or desperation of people to gain sexual access to them. This is sexual assault. This is wrong.
Yesterday, Amnesty International decided that it would support decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution. It is understandable that they want to decriminalize prostitutes. Prostitutes are oppressed on a worldwide scale. It is important that this stops. What Amnesty International did was understandable to a certain extent. And they are against the most egregious violations perpetrated against prostitutes, such as kidnapping persons to force them into prostitution.
But Amnesty International is going further. Much further. You can read it in a policy document. The full name of the document is Decriminalization of Sex Work: Policy Background Document. You can read it here:
I'll quote some of it. Read on page 6:
Along similar lines, men and women who buy sex from consenting adults are also exercising personal autonomy. For some—in particular persons with mobility or sensory disabilities or those with psycho-social disabilities that hamper social interactions—sex workers are persons with whom they feel safe enough to have a physical relationship or to express their sexuality. Some develop a stronger sense of self in their relationships with sex workers, improving their life enjoyment and dignity. At a very basic level, expressions of sexuality and sex are a primary component of the human experience, which is directly linked to individuals’ physical and mental health. The state’s interference with an adult’s strategy to have sex with another consenting adult is, therefore, a deliberate interference with those individuals’ autonomy and health.Read on page 8:
The criminalization 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. In addition, the right to freely chosen gainful work (Article 6, ICESCR) may be jeopardized by the criminalization of sex work.
International human rights law stipulates that everyone is entitled to safe and healthy working conditions (Article 7(b), ICESCR), including those who are self-employed or who make their living in informal setting such as selling fruit on the side of the road or bartering repair services, or, indeed, through exchanging sex for remuneration. Safe working conditions in such circumstances could include adequate access to clean water in public spaces, public sanitation services, street security, and otherwise. These factors often overlap with obligations to guarantee adequate underlying determinants of health, which are critical to the right to health more generally.
International human rights law also confers the right to privacy, which has been applied to some extent to sexuality and individuals’ autonomous decisions with regard to their bodies (Article 17(1 (2), ICCPR; Article 16(1)(2), ICRC; Article 22(1), ICRPD; K.L. v. Peru, CCPR/C/85/D/1153/2003 at [6.4] and [6.5]; CESCR, General Recommendation 24).In other words, Amnesty International sees buying sex as a private matter, which the state shouldn't interfere with. It suggests buying sex is a human right. Also notice that Amnesty International follows the libertarian/neo-liberal definition of what freedom is. This definition assumes that everything that is being consented to, is acceptable. In other words, it is completely acceptable when you offer a very poor person to be tortured in exchange for money. And they apparently see being tortured and sexually molested as work that could be done under safe and healthy conditions. I always thought of Amnesty International as a kind of socialist-humanist organization, not as some die-hard dog-eat-dog free market capitalists. I think they have some kind of fear that they will be seen by progressive people as prudish. They defend themselves by saying that they support the human rights of prostitutes, but they have apparently relinquished one right already: the right not to be tortured.
I know, this is a very difficult issue. Prostitutes are financially dependent on being sexually assaulted and raped. When you take away their clients, their income, it will hurt them directly. Often they have family members, children, who depend on their preciously needed income. But this doesn't mean that being sexually assaulted and raped is acceptable. It is not okay when a rich man drives circles around a prostitute and continuously tries to haggle and drive the ridiculously low price for sex down. But apparently this is acceptable, because she "consented" to it.
I think some serious programs have to be set up to financially support prostitutes, and to help them to find truly safe and healthy work. It will be difficult. It will be expensive. I think it is the duty of society to cover all the expenses of the prostitutes and of the people who depend on them. But I'm pessimistic.
No country in the world has found a complete solution to poverty. Even progressive Sweden still has several hundreds of prostitutes within its borders. They apparently are not very successful at helping them all out. In Sweden the prostitutes themselves are decriminalized, while the people who sexually exploit them (the clients and the pimps) are subject to prosecution. Sweden is a rich country. I wonder if they could do more. They forgot to shoot the ball into the goal.
The most important thing is that prostitutes should be helped, but not by using their misery to sexually assault them. Because that is what it is. Prostitution is total degradation, total humiliation. Clients play all kinds of evil power games with prostitutes, trying to pull condoms off while the prostitute is not looking, scratching them, grabbing prostitutes' intimate parts against their will, thrusting their fingers in orifices without a proper announcement. Prostitutes have to continuously fight to keep clients from doing things they don't want clients to do to them, while still keeping the clients happy. This is acknowledged even by some women who have presented themselves as having made a full and conscious choice to work in prostitution. Read more about it here on my blog:
Prostitutes are also frequently and violently raped. It is normal. It is so normal that prostitutes don't even recognize rape and sexual intimidation as something problematic anymore. Prostitution is a human rights violation in and of itself, "consensual" or not.
I don't want to be a part of that again. I have used all kinds of excuses to make prostitution acceptable to me. I won't do it again. This time I will prevail. The fact that Amnesty International finds prostitution acceptable now, should make my determination even stronger. I'm not going to use these psychopaths to find an excuse to visit prostitutes again. Technically I am one of those "psycho-socially" disabled persons of whom Amnesty finds it acceptable to visit prostitutes, to "express their sexuality". But I'm not falling into that trap. I'm not going to express my sexuality via the misery of others.
I'm afraid that Amnesty International's point of view regarding prostitution is going to be abused by men to visit prostitutes. What after all is wrong with it? The respectable Amnesty International, the international guardian of human rights, of what's wrong and what is right, supports it now.
What kind of world do we live in?