SALT LAKE CITY— On Tuesday, Amnesty International adopted a policy of decriminalizing prostitution. In response, Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, executive director of the World Congress of Families IX (which will meet in Salt Lake City on Oct. 27-30), issued the following statement:
“This decision by a leading international human rights advocacy group is a major blow for the protection of vulnerable women and children. It is a pivotal victory for the brothel owners, pimps, sex traffickers and johns who can now claim that their actions are acceptable and there’s nothing wrong with what they do.
“The Amnesty vote takes away the meager protections given to those who are exploited, dehumanized and in numerous other ways now have the last remaining human rights stripped from them. The vote greatly increases the inhumane power of the exploiters and significantly increases the likelihood that victims will be subjected to more abuse and brutality at the hands of their exploiters.”
Dr. Crouse, whose work against sex trafficking earned an “Abolitionist Award” by the George W. Bush State Department, argued against such a proposal at a February 2010 Oxford Union Debate, where she said, “Prostitution is not like ‘Pretty Woman,’ where a glamorous prostitute earns big money from handsome johns; the majority end up drug-addicted, bruised and battered.”
Take a look at some commonly acknowledged facts:
- Street prostitutes often service as many as 10-15 men a night and barely scrape by while their pimps make over a half-million dollars a year.
- Prostitutes call their work “paid rape,” and they all have had friends who “didn’t make it out alive.”
- Nearly half of prostituted women attempt suicide, and according to Dr. Melissa Farley’s research, the vast majority (almost 90 percent) desperately want out.
- A sex trafficking fact sheet compiled by Farley states that 80 percent of prostitutes were assaulted by their pimps and more than one-third receive death threats aimed at themselves and their families.
- A study at Metropolitan University revealed that after Australia legalized prostitution, unregistered brothels (operating outside of regulations) increased dramatically – pulling thousands of vulnerable women into prostitution and significantly increasing the number of women with STDs and other infections.
- The United States State Department notes that pimps control 80-95 percent of all forms of prostitution. Nearly 70 percent of those in prostitution entered before age 16, with the average age of entry in the U.S. being 12 years old.
Today, William Wilberforce’s abolitionist campaign in the 19th century against slavery is considered a great moral and human rights victory. Crouse concluded, “The war against johns, pimps and traffickers is the slavery issue of our time. Amnesty International has come down on the wrong side of history by voting on a policy decriminalizing prostitution.”