Amnesty report recommends decriminalisation of sex work

Amnesty International has recommended the decriminalisation of “consensual sex work” in a major policy statement that follows two years of first-hand research.

The formal adoption and publication of the policy follows a democratic decision by the human rights group in August 2015, which was reported widely at the time.

It includes a call for the repeal of laws prohibiting activities associated with sex work, such as bans on buying, solicitation and general organisation of sex work, while focussing on protecting sex workers from exploitation and abuse.

Tawanda Mutasah, Amnesty International’s senior director for law and policy, said: “Sex workers are at heightened risk of a whole host of human rights abuses including rape, violence, extortion and discrimination. Far too often they receive no, or very little, protection from the law or means for redress.

“Our policy outlines how governments must do more to protect people who do sex work from violations and abuse. Our research highlights their testimony and the daily issues they face.”

He added: “We want laws to be refocused on making sex worker’s lives safer and improving the relationship they have with the police while addressing the very real issue of exploitation.”

Legislation to create a new offence of paying to engage in sexual activity was proposed in the last Dáil session, but was not passed before the election this month.

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