Amirah Supports PARTIAL Decriminalization of the Sex Trade
Decriminalization of the Sex Trade & The Survivor's Agenda
Why Full Decriminalization of the sex trade is a threat to justice.
Amirah supports partial decriminalization so that survivors of sexual exploitation, trafficking and prostitution are supported in their vulnerable circumstances while holding buyers, brothel owners and pimps accountable.
Inherently Violent & Vulnerable
Those who are sold for sex are in an inherently vulnerable situation. The majority of prostituted persons experience physical, verbal, and emotional abuse regularly.
Systemic Issues Ignored
Systems that contribute to vulnerabilities in our society are absolved of their responsibility. Poverty, systemic racism, incarceration, lack of affordable housing, and more, are moved out of focus.
Partial decriminalization is key
We support the Equality Model, where someone who is sold for sex is not criminalized. Amirah recognizes the vulnerability of that position. Under partial decriminalization, buyers, brothel owners, and pimps are criminalized and held accountable.
Amirah's Statement on Full Decriminalization of the Sex Trade & the Survivor's Agenda
Full decriminalization of the sex trade is a threat to justice and the many women, men, girls, and boys at risk for sexual exploitation. On September 30, the Survivor’s Agenda, a collection of survivors of sexual violence and allies, published a comprehensive agenda to introduce policies that combat sexual violence and inequality. The Survivor’s Agenda left out survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking in forming its agenda and made a serious error in supporting full decriminalization of the sex trade.
While we support the many other policies the Survivor’s Agenda puts forth, we are opposed to full decriminalization on several accounts. First, wherever full decriminalization of the sex trade has been passed, rates of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation have risen exponentially. In a review of 150 countries, the London School of Economics found that wherever the sex trade was decriminalized, the demand for sex skyrocketed and sex trafficking increased. Second, those being sold for sex are in an inherently vulnerable situation, because the sex trade is inherently violent. Whether or not a trafficker is present, extreme acts of sexual violence, rape, and murder are committed by buyers regularly. A 2011 study on homicide rates found that prostituted persons have become the victim of choice for serial killers. The majority of prostituted persons experience physical, verbal, and emotional abuse regularly.
Third, full decriminalization of the sex trade absolves our systems of the responsibility they bear in creating the inequalities that lead a vulnerable person to engage in prostitution. Prostitution is almost never a choice. It is a choiceless choice – a last resort for survival and to meet basic needs. Poverty, systemic racism, incarceration, lack of affordable housing, lack of affordable medical care, and addiction diseases are among the top factors that push a vulnerable individual into the position of engaging in commercial sex to survive.
We do not support a policy position that ignores the inherent violence and inequality found in the sex trade and opens the door of opportunity for pimps and traffickers to prey upon the vulnerable for their own gain.
We do support partial decriminalization of the sex trade. This policy decriminalizes the person being sold for sex and recognizes the vulnerability of that position. This policy criminalizes buyers, brothel owners, and pimps, and thus addresses the power dynamic between buyers and those being bought.
Partial decriminalization, also known as the Equality Model, seeks to center the voices and lived experience of the vulnerable and provide much needed services to bridge the inequality gap. It further closes the door of opportunity for traffickers to target the vulnerable. It prioritizes community programs designed to prevent exploitation from occurring in the first place.
We support partial decriminalization, because it is the best policy for prostituted persons and survivors alike. We invite you to support this position and work with us as we strive for a world where people are not bought and sold.
The Amirah Team