Open invitation to the Director of Amnesty International UK to ‘Women of Colour Against the Sex Trade’ event

Dear Ms Allen,

We, the undersigned, are Women of Colour from Britain, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Holland and Australia. We are visiting London in February to take part in the ‘Women of Colour Against the Sex Trade’ event due to take place there on Thursday, February 21st.

We write to you to invite you to come and hear us speak, as we will be discussing the harm and damage done to our communities by the global sex trade. It is hoped that by hearing us you will rethink Amnesty’s policy of 2015, which endorses the “all aspects” of the sex trade and urges governments worldwide to adopt laws and policies that endorse the full decriminalization of the sex trade, including pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sexual access, predominantly to female bodies.

One of the areas we intend to touch on will be the social devastation caused to communities of colour, and to their females in particular, by the pimping your organisation endorses. It is shocking to us that Amnesty – formerly a very trustworthy human rights organisation – now endorses pimping to the point where it declares it ought to be decriminalised, which of course means rendered legally and socially acceptable.

Pimping is not acceptable; it is decimating our communities. So-called ‘Sex Tourism,’ which is rampant in Kenya, Costa Rica, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Brazil, Haiti and other nations of colour around the globe, is a system of prostitution whereby impoverished women from the developing world are sexually exploited and used by predominantly white western men. It simply ought to be within the spirit of Amnesty’s human rights agenda to identify the blatant exploitation here, and the inevitable emotional psychological scarring, for the communities involved and also at the incalculable level of the individual.

It is our sincere hope that you will attend our event and listen with sincerity. We can promise we will be speaking in the same vein. Other topics we will be covering include the prostitution of Asian women in militarised zones, the Missing and Murdered Women’s Inquiry in Canada; the links between the historical sexual exploitation of Black women and girls in the United States during slavery and the present day overrepresentation of Black women and girls in US prostitution; the toxic cultural effect of state-sanctioned prostitution systems; exit strategies and the practical difficulties involved for women in rebuilding their lives while dogged by former prostitution convictions.

We will be discussing all the above and many other issues besides, each of us from our personal and professional experience of our own subject matter, and we would like to extend this invite to you in the spirit of honesty and a willingness to exchange frankly. It is clear, we’re sure, that we believe Amnesty has taken a dangerously unwise turn with its ‘Resolution On State Obligations To Respect, Protect, And Fulfil The Human Rights Of Sex Workers’ but we have been convinced many times through our activism of the human capacity to change our minds, which happens usually by the process of exposure to new information. We are hopeful, of course, that is what will happen here. You are very welcome to attend this event and to meet with us privately before or afterwards.

  • Rosemarie Cameron (Britain)
  • Vednita Carter (USA)
  • Taina Bien-Aime (USA)
  • Bridget Perrier (Canada)
  • Ne’cole Daniels (USA)
  • Mickey Meji (South Africa)
  • Suzanne Jay (Canada)
  • Roella Lieveld (Netherlands)
  • Ally Diamond (Aus/New Zealand)

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