NEW YORK, August 7, 2015 (C-Fam) — Two decades after the movie “Pretty Woman” glamorized prostitution, Hollywood stars are teaming up with ex-prostituted women to convince a human rights group not to advocate for legalizing prostitution.
Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, and Kate Winslet added their names to a letter opposing Amnesty International’s “Draft Policy on Sex Work.” Amnesty delegates will vote this week whether to advocate for decriminalizing the sex trade.
In a leaked policy paper, Amnesty argues that sexual expression is a primary need. The paper claims that prostitution helps people with disabilities to “express their sexuality” and “develop a stronger sense of self” and improve “their life enjoyment and dignity.” Government interference with “an adult’s strategy to have sex with another consenting adult” intrudes on “those individuals’ autonomy and health.”
Heath risks are “less related to the acts of sex work itself,” and more to policies and cultural biases, Amnesty argues.
If Amnesty adopts a pro-prostitution policy it would be bucking a worldwide trend. Formerly prostituted women are more organized, often describing in graphic details the violence and exploitation of the sex trade. Some countries are adopting the Swedish model of going after the customers, outlawing the purchase of sex.
On the flip side, Germany deregulated prostitution in 2002. Five years later the government reported an explosive growth in brothels that triggered an increase in sex trafficking.
The Netherlands confirmed its surge in sex trafficking is directly linked to its decriminalization of the sex industry.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women organized the letter to Amnesty. It notes that trauma experts asked Germany to repeal its law, reporting “extensive psychological harm that serial, unwanted sexual invasion and violence, which are among the hallmarks of prostitution, inflicts on women.” Medical professionals confirm the abuse, sexual violence and injuries women endure from pimps and clients lead to life-long physical and psychological damage and often death.
Yet some countries spend government money for people with disabilities to buy sex.
Holland pays for “sex aid workers” once a month for disabled people. A Danish man demanded the government also “cover the extra expense for the prostitutes to get here, because it’s a lot more expensive getting them to come to my home rather than me going to a brothel,” he told the BBC.
A British government fund for people with disabilities pays for prostitution and visits to lap dancing clubs. A 21-year old man with learning disabilities was granted money for a trip to brothels in Amsterdam. His social worker said “refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights” and justified “satisfying his needs” in a licensed brothel because “his happiness and growth as a person is the most important thing.”
“It really undermines the whole concept of human rights to call it the rights of men to buy other human beings for sex,” Jessica Neuwirth told the New York Times. The founder of Equality Now said people in the sex industry may be behind Amnesty’s draft policy.
Disney’s “Pretty Woman” – a modern-day Cinderella fable – portrayed prostitution as a path to romance, riches and a handsome husband.
Earlier this year, the cast disclosed that the comedy was originally a tragedy – a cautionary tale against prostitution.
The millionaire john “threw my character out of the car, threw the money on top of her and drove away and the credits rolled,” said actress Julia Roberts.
Reprinted with permission from C-Fam.