- Amnesty International
Join Former President Jimmy Carter in an appeal to Amnesty International
Amnesty International (AI) has long been a respected voice advancing the cause of human rights. It has actively assisted victims of human rights violations for more than 30 years and its members are committed to promote the greater realization of human rights in every corner of the globe.
Currently AI is in the process of considering adoption of a policy paper that calls for the legalization of prostitution globally.
Former President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center urge AI to consider carefully human rights concerns that arise with the legalization of prostitution. Former President Carter has spoken out on this issue asserting that all forms of commercial sexual exploitation are a profound violation of human rights. He also wrote an open letter to AI Secretary General Salil Shetty in 2014, urging the rejection of the legalization proposal.
The record is clear: wherever prostitution has been legalized, the result is more exploitation and abuse, not less. Alternatives to legalization exist, especially the so-called “Nordic Model”, based on efforts undertaken in Iceland, Norway and particularly Sweden as well as local jurisdictions in a number of other countries. The implementation of the Nordic Model has resulted in a decline in prostitution and trafficking, as well as the promotion of alternative livelihoods for people leaving prostitution.
The comprehensive strategy at the heart of the Nordic Model consists of the following measures: (i) decriminalize behavior of the victims of exploitation; (ii) direct efforts and resources of law enforcement to concentrate on the buyers, pimps and profiteers; (iii) support robust public awareness campaigns about the fundamental human right to be protected against sexual exploitation and the harms to the individual and society caused by this form of violence; and (iv) develop and fund care and exit services for survivors.
We urge all those concerned with the putting a halt to the expansion of human trafficking and exploitation of persons to join in a global effort to oppose legalization of prostitution and instead adopt the more effective alternative approach.
The Carter Center hosted The World Summit: End Sexual Exploitation 2025, on May 11-12, 2015. This event featured survivors and advocates who considered ways to stem the growing demand for ever younger victims of sex trafficking and prostitution and to support victims exploited by the sex industry. Discussants also noted that advocacy efforts are primarily focused on ending sex trafficking of minors, with relatively little attention being directed to the plight of adults. This may well be the result of the popular assumption that adults in prostitution participate voluntarily. However this distinction is erroneous, if not harmful, as the vast majority of prostituted persons enter the industry as minors.
We urge AI, its governing bodies and entire membership to reject forthrightly any proposals which call for or promote full legalization of prostitution. Instead, AI should remain at the vanguard of the human rights movement by recognizing that sexual exploitation is a serious violation of fundamental human rights. To do so, AI should join with others calling for the adoption of the Nordic Model to end sexual exploitation.
By signing this petition, you will be adding your voice to those of survivors as well as former President Jimmy Carter and the many others who are bravely challenging proponents oflegalized prostitution, including those who profit from the multi-billion dollar sex industry.
- Amnesty International
Support the Nordic Model for Ending Sexual Exploitation
Amnesty International (AI) is one of the most important human rights organizations in the world. It has come to the aid of victims of human rights violations for more than 30 years and its members are committed to advancing human rights in every corner of the globe. This summer, AI will consider adopting a policy paper that calls for the legalization of prostitution globally.
The Carter Center and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter oppose this proposal and assert that all forms of commercial sexual exploitation are a profound violation of fundamental human rights. We believe that the legalization of prostitution would be tantamount to the legalization of torture. Instead, we support the Nordic Model, which offers a comprehensive strategy that includes: the decriminalization of the victims and survivors of exploitation; concentration of law enforcement resources and penalties on the buyers, pimps and profiteers; robust public awareness campaigns about the fundamental human right to be protected against sexual exploitation and the harms to the individual and society caused by this form violence; and care and exit services for survivors.
We urge all those concerned with the expansion of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation to join with us in proposing the adoption of this approach in every jurisdiction.
The Carter Center hosted a World Summit May 11-12, 2015 where we heard testimony from survivors and advocates about how best to stem the growing demand for younger and younger victims of sex trafficking and prostitution, and what can be done to support people of all ages who are exploited in the sex industry.
During the Summit, we considered the fact that most advocacy is focused on ending sex trafficking of minors, partly due to a popular assumption that adults in prostitution participate voluntarily. Given the fact that some 80% of prostituted persons entered the industry as minors, this distinction is misleading and harmful. We also learned that wherever prostitution has been legalized, the result is more exploitation and abuse, not less. Conversely, in Sweden, Iceland, Norway and some local jurisdictions in various countries, the implementation of the Nordic Model has resulted in a decline in prostitution and trafficking, as well as alternative livelihoods for people leaving prostitution.
Amnesty International should not adopt the proposal now under consideration to promote full legalization of prostitution, including the buyers, pimps and profiteers. Instead, AI should continue its great tradition of being at the vanguard of the human rights movement. By supporting the Nordic Model for ending sexual exploitation, AI members and governing bodies have the opportunity to greatly enhance the growing movement that recognizes sexual exploitation as a violation of fundamental human rights.
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