In “Abolishing Prostution: A Feminist Human Rights Treaty,” Kathleen Barry “argues that the time is ripe for a UN treaty to bolster ongoing efforts to end prostitution.”
Barry tells us of Normal Hotaling who founded SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) which has worked to end prostitution in San Fransicso in part by offering customers who are first time offenders the opportunity to attend a “school for Johns directed and taught by prostitution survivors.” Seems to work, too. Over 12 years only 4-5% of johns have been arrested a second time.
On the treaty,The Convention Against Sexual Exploitation, Barry supports:
“In addition to arresting, jailing and fining johns, this treaty would requires state to provide women with health and training programs and jobs, the absence of which sends so many women to streets, brothels and to immigrate for work. It would require that states prevent the sexual exploitation of women during wartime and insure the safety of migrating women. In other words, criminalizing customers must be accompanied with women’s equal access to jobs and their special vulnerabilities to sexual exploitation (prior sexual abuse, poverty, immigration, war) requires state support.”
I understand and appreciate the sex workers’ movement to an extent, but feel it obscures much of the suffering of and violence against women as well as the human trafficking and exploitation that are too often part and parcel of sex work. In other words, I support the treaty. What do you think?