European & International News

Not an either or - decreasing HIV/AIDS vs anti-trafficking - Equality Now

(New York, 14 May 2013) On 13 May 2013, Equality Now was invited to speak at the UN High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Global Plan of Actions to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Lauren Hersh, Equality Now New York Office Director, delivered the attached statement regarding the UN agency reports on HIV/AIDS and the need for consultation with anti-trafficking organizations. Those demands were already addressed last year, in a joint letter from several NGOs, including the European Women’s Lobby, alerting members to pro-prostitution recommendations which would have a detrimental impact on prostituted persons.

"While we applaud the significant efforts by UN Agencies to prevent HIV/AIDS, two recent UN reports - The Global Commission on HIV and the LAW Report and Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific - undermine the spirit and intent of the Trafficking Protocol.

The Global Commission report calls on countries to reform international law, particularly the Trafficking Protocol and tells governments to: “repeal laws that prohibit consenting adults to buy or sell sex and laws on brothel-keeping.” The Asia and the Pacific report goes one step further, calling for the repeal of laws criminalizing pimping and the management and operation of brothels. UNDP, UNFPA and UNAIDs were instrumental in these alarming reports.

Our 86 partners who are working directly with trafficking survivors around the world were not consulted in the drafting of these reports; we believe that if the reports’ recommendations are implemented, efforts to prevent and effectively address sex trafficking will be jeopardized.

Long-term, permanent solutions for decreasing the risk of HIV/AIDS are critical. But they must not come at the expense of anti-trafficking efforts. In order to reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS in prostituted people, we must eliminate the demand for prostitution, by criminalizing the buyers and not the people prostituted. Sex trafficking in the Nordic countries has decreased with this approach."

You can also view Lauren Hersh here at 1:14:24 into the webcast.
Equality Now is an international human rights organization dedicated to action for the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women.

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