By Mick “Spin” Dumdell
Boy, I really have mixed emotions on this one! Amnesty International is advocating that prostitution be legalized! Which also means that people who utilize the services of prostitutes would be legalized. Which means no more embarrassing mug shots and fines. But, Hollywood is throwing a damp blanket over the whole movement. This story at Breitbart provides the details:
Amnesty International has sparked a glitzy Hollywood backlash from its usual left wing fan-base by submitting a draft policy calling for prostitution to be legalised in order to promote the human rights of prostitutes.
Hollywood actresses Lena Dunham, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep are among thousands who have called on the NGO not only to vote down, but to withdraw altogether a draft policy on sex work calling for the human rights of sex workers to be upheld by making prostitution legal.
Amnesty argues that prostitution is voluntary and as such should be legalised, but critics have called this stance naïve at best, pointing out that a choice of one option is no choice at all. Others have accused Amnesty of using human rights as a cover to advance their left wing agenda.
Although founded in the early 1960s simply to tackle human rights abuses worldwide, Amnesty quickly became a champion of left wing causes, replete with a multi-million pound budget part-funded by Western governments. Recent campaigns include action to legalise abortion in Ireland, and the organisation has become known for its anti-Israeli rhetoric.
So far, these positions have been rewarded with praise and generous support from left wing luvvies in Hollywood and elsewhere. But a policy document, due to be voted on by Amnesty’s leaders at their upcoming Council Meeting on August 10, has seen those stars criticising Amnesty in the strongest terms.
Unlike trafficking, which is forced, Amnesty argues that prostitution is voluntary and therefore should not be seen in the same light. The document states: “Sex work involves a contractual arrangement where sexual services are negotiated between consenting adults, with the terms of engagement agreed between the seller and the buyer of sexual services. By definition, sex work means that sex workers who are engaging in commercial sex have consented to do so, (that is, are choosing voluntarily to do so).”
Jessica Neuwirth, an international human rights lawyer has taken to The Guardian to hit back against the proposal, pointing out: “This definition fails to take into account the dire economic need, the childhood sexual abuse, the brutal coercion employed by pimps, and the vast power differences of sex and race that drive the commercial sex industry.”
Amnesty counter later in their policy that they do understand the background to prostitution, but say “such conditions do not inevitably render individuals incapable of exercising personal agency.”
However, Neuwirth says that they are again wrong. “This argument ignores the reality for the vast majority of individuals exploited by the commercial sex industry,” she said.
Citing the example of UN peacekeepers trading food and medicine for sex, she writes: “These transactions […] might technically be consensual, but can hardly be considered examples of free will. There is no choice in the absence of the freedom to choose otherwise.”
Absurdly, a document uncovered last year makes it abundantly clear that, although Amnesty recognise that some people who enter prostitution have limited choices available to them, Amnesty sees this as being akin to the choices that coal miners or domestic servants make when taking up their jobs.
That document read: “Amnesty International understands the imperfect context in which individuals choose to become sex workers (or miners or foreign domestic workers.)”
Nic Conner, the Social Affairs Research Fellow for conservative think tank The Bow Group told Breitbart London that he believed Amnesty, far from promoting the human rights of prostitutes, were merely using human rights as a sop for promoting a left wing agenda.
“This is the perfect example of how ‘human rights’ have moved from being natural rights inherited at birth by every person on earth, to being a by-word for left-wing libertarianism,” he said.
“Organisations such as Amnesty International are using the cover of human rights in an attempt to impose their left-wing agenda upon us, so that if decent men and woman disagree with AI’s agenda they can imply they disagree with the natural rights of humans.
“It is not the case that sex work is some amusing slap-and-tickle as portrayed by the ITV’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Some prostitutes have been trafficked into the UK by gangs to be used as slaves in brothels, while others voluntarily entered prostitution due to a combination of poverty, poor mental health and addiction.
“If Amnesty International had its way, the women, men, boys and girls who enter prostitution under those toxic combinations of disaster will not just have their abuse legalized and legitimized, but the right to abuse them will be engraved as a human right.”
I have some philosophical problems with the movement. On one hand, women should be free to choose whatever career they want, and what they do does bring happiness to many men. And, legalization would introduce competition and drive down prices! On the other hand, there is that whole degradation thing and that invokes the War on Women response. This one is over my head. Maybe I am just too personally invested this?
Your very truly,
Mick “Spin” Dumdell
FootNote: The Image is Audrey Hepburn playing Holly Golightly in the 1961 film, Breakfast At Tiffanys. Why is she the Image for this article about prostitution?
Was Holly Golightly Really a Prostitute?
A headline in the Telegraph asks the question, but doesn’t want to know the answer. Apparently, a new West End production of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (starring the cute-as-pie Anna Friel) has none of the ambiguity surrounding Holly’s profession that the film version had. “What a shame it is that we live in an age where there seems to be no such thing as a lightness of touch and where the public is deemed able only to understand a single rather than a double entendre,” the paper huffs.
Oh, the unbearable heaviness of contemporary theatre! But one can’t help but wonder: Was she?
In a 1968 interview in Playboy, Truman Capote addressed the question:
Playboy: Would you elaborate on your comment that Holly was the prototype of today’s liberated female and representative of a “whole breed of girls who live off men but are not prostitutes. They’re our version of the geisha girl.”?
Capote: Holly Golightly was not precisely a callgirl. She had no job, but accompanied expense-account men to the best restaurants and night clubs, with the understanding that her escort was obligated to give her some sort of gift, perhaps jewelry or a check … if she felt like it, she might take her escort home for the night. So these girls are the authentic American geishas, and they’re much more prevalent now than in 1943 or 1944, which was Holly’s era.
Later in the interview, Capote has some fun with his interrogator:
Playboy: Holly Golightly alludes to her onetime Lesbian roommate and obliquely expresses a sexual interest in other women. Was Holly a Lesbian?
Capote: Let’s leave Holly out of it. It’s a well-known fact that most prostitutes are Lesbians—at least 80 percent of them, in any case. And so are a great many of the models and showgirls in New York; just off the top of my head, I can think of three top professional models who are Lesbians. Of course, there’s a Lesbian component in every woman, but what intrigues me is the heterosexual male’s fascination with Lesbians. I find it extraordinary that so many men I know consider Lesbian women exciting and attractive; among their most treasured erotic dreams is the idea of going to bed with two Lesbians.