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Amnesty legitimising sex as a commodity

Published:Wednesday | August 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Recently, Amnesty International, human rights watchdog group, approved a controversial policy to endorse the decriminalisation of the sex trade, thereby rejecting the claims of women's groups who say that it is tantamount to advocating the legalisation of pimping and brothel owning. Amnesty's position is that decriminalisation is the best way to defend sex workers' rights.

The implication of this new position is that sex can be perceived as a commodity for trade. The person with the most money can get the most sex. Therefore, persons who are well oiled, well known and well connected will benefit the most from this new position. People with money will have a sense of entitlement to sex without restrictions. Love and sex will be divorced and transactional sex will be the new world order.

Who are some of the famous with fortune who have allegedly been involved in buying sex? There was an IMF official; a member of the English House of Lords; an Italian president; a French international footballer; a talented Hollywood actor, a popular televangelist, etc. This new policy position means these powerful and prosperous men can legitimately use their superior means and fame to buy as much sex as money can purchase from vulnerable women, most of whom feel compelled to engage in this trade to survive. Selling one's body is not usually the first-choice profession.

Amnesty International needs to understand that there is no human right to having sex, much more to buy sex. Human rights are universal rights for all persons of all ages without exception, and this right must be necessary to exist as a human life. One can be human and live a productive life without ever having sex or engaging in transactional sex. There ought to be a human right to air, water, food, and security, which are universal rights with no exception as they are necessary for life. Those are the human rights on which Amnesty International should concentrate.

There are many things, such as selling and buying a mobile phone and property, which are useful, significant and beneficial, but are not human rights - they are not universal rights necessary for one's existence. Amnesty's policy shift is an 'Indecent Proposal' that should be rejected worldwide.

If persons should have a right to buy and sell sex, then fellow citizens should promote, propagate and persuade others of the benefit of such a trade. The next step is to put it on the Stock Exchange as a legitimate business with sex as a commodity.


a gift from god


Sex as commodity will place a greater reliance on sex positions and objectifying persons as being there to please the other person for a monetary price. Sex will be self-gratification rather than mutual satisfaction on reaching the mountain top with each other.

Sex is a gift from God to be used responsibly and lovingly. It is the selfless giving of oneself in unconditional love to another in a committed, loving and loyal relationship. There should be no strings (purse or otherwise) attached in engaging in consensual sex, save and except pure and unadulterated love. In addition, sex is for the continuance of the human race to fulfil God's purpose for human kind of glorifying God.

In 1999, Sweden decided to tackle the demand for sex by making it illegal to buy sex but not to sell it. Sweden provides some of the best protection to trafficking victims. The liberal Swedes do not believe one should be able to purchase someone or any part of a person. Their stance has led to a reduction of sex workers by 66 per cent.

Amnesty needs to review its policy position on the decriminalisation of the sex trade and focus on empowering our women.

• Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@