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OTTAWA, February 3, 2014 ( – A Canadian Member of Parliament is accusing Amnesty International of supporting the “rights of pimps over victims” after a policy document was leaked showing the international advocacy group calling for the legalization of prostitution.

In the document, Amnesty International argues that men who trade cash for sexual access to a woman’s body ought to be free from government “interference” because they are simply “exercising personal autonomy.”

In the leaked document, Amnesty International says it is “opposed to the criminalization or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults,” adding its belief that “seeking, buying, selling and soliciting paid sex are acts protected from state interference.”


The charity, known as an advocate for political prisoners and for its condemnation of torture, believes that governments have a “positive obligation to reform their laws and develop and implement systems and policies that eliminate discrimination” against those selling themselves for cash.

Canadian Member of Parliament Joy Smith condemned the policy in a statement last week.

“We need to recognize prostitution for what it is,” she said. “It is inherently harmful to women and girls and therefore must be eliminated. Legalization is the wrong approach.”

“AI has built its reputation on advocating for victims around the world. Why is AI abandoning victims now? Amnesty International has squandered its moral authority and is losing its way.”

Smith is not the first to criticize the charity for having lost its moral compass.

Life and family leaders have noted how Amnesty International has over the last decade increasingly become a pro-abortion and homosexualist lobby group. The charity revealed its pro-abortion position in 2007 after declaring legalized abortion a “human right.” Since then the charity has aggressively campaigned against countries that retain legal protections for the unborn.

Smith slammed the charity’s position that legalized prostitution would help women attain equality, dignity, and respect.

“AI is deliberately ignoring mounting empirical evidence about the harm against women and will find themselves on the wrong side of history and women’s equality,” she said.

“The vast majority of sexually exploited victims are under-age, lured by pimps with promises of lavish and extravagant lifestyles. The modern day slave trade is defined by these vulnerable victims, who come of age, with little hope of escape from their traffickers.”

Smith favors limiting prostitution by punishing the purchasers. The model of criminalizing the purchaser, not the prostitute, has proved effective in Sweden in reducing the commodification of women and girls for sex.

Smith would like to see Sweden’s model adopted in Canada after the Supreme Court unanimously threw out the country’s prostitution laws in December, arguing that they imposed “dangerous conditions” on prostitutes, thus infringing Charter rights to security of the person. The court gave the federal government one year to enact new legislation before the ruling takes effect.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay said on the weekend the government will table new prostitution laws well ahead of the one-year deadline.

Speaking in Halifax, MacKay said the government is currently drafting legislation that will continue to protect women from sexual abuse and violence.