Date of Meeting: 16 March 2017

Meeting Organizer: Women at the Well

CSW Delegates Present: Hillary DeJarnett, Lt. Col Eirwen Pallant

Reporter: Hillary DeJarnett

Which SDG does this topic cover? 3, 16

Type of meeting: CSW Side Event

Brief summary of presentation of information made

This session outlined the many ways that decriminalizing the sex trade is actually disempowering women. The panelist included Vednita Carter, Rachel Moran, Marian Hatcher and Julie Smith. They made a compelling argument against decriminalizing the sex trade and showed how this actually perpetuates violence against women. These are leading voices in the anti-trafficking movement.

“Where did we come to a point where you think you can empower women by disempowering them? Amnesty International has promoted this idea that we need to decriminalize pimps and exploiters and not only is this crazy but it is sick” Women get more time in jail than the johns/pimps. Johns/Pimps get hands slapped but the women are taken to jail, lose custody of kids – this is not a job this is exploitation.

They discussed that if you legalize prostitution then it gives a way for more abuse, violence and exploitation. Sexual assault is then down graded to an occupational hazard. If you look at the places that have decriminalized the sex trade, you can see how this is not effective or empowering, for example the Netherlands, Germany, Nevada. Legalization has been discredited, so they have worked to find another avenue to promote this same agenda and are now using the term “decriminalization” which includes every aspect of the sex trade, not to be confused with the Nordic Model which is decriminalizing those being exploited but not the buyers or managers.

 If it is legalized, it affects all women because it is condoning the buying and selling of women – making us commodities.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

The Salvation Army is serving survivors of prostitution and trafficking internationally and we must continue to advocate for laws that will promote justice and empower those affected by exploitation and trafficking. 

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