Amnesty International will meet next week in Dublin to debate a proposal that prostitution is a human right.

The Guardian editorializes against the proposition:

Amnesty is arguing that prostitution is a matter of free choice, a stance heavily promoted by the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry. The group is putting forth the view that sex work is compatible with the principle of gender equality and nondiscrimination, as if it were a job like any other.

“By definition,” Amnesty’s proposal states, “sex work means that sex workers who are engaging in commercial sex have consented to do so.” 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 contends that “such conditions do not inevitably render individuals incapable of exercising personal agency”. This argument ignores the reality for the vast majority of individuals exploited by the commercial sex industry. When United Nations personnel trade food for sex, these transactions – called “survival sex” – might technically be consensual, but can hardly be considered examples of free will. Almost all prostitution is some form of survival sex. There is no choice in the absence of the freedom to choose otherwise.

Today’s Question: Do you agree with Amnesty International’s proposal that prostitution is a human right?

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The U.S. Senate is on the verge of making changes to the time and type of criminals that the country incarcerates, reports the New York Times.

As senators work to meld several proposals into one bill, one important change would be to expand the so-called safety-valve provisions that give judges discretion to sentence low-level drug offenders to less time in prison than the required mandatory minimum term if they meet certain requirements.

Another would allow lower-risk prisoners to participate in recidivism programs to earn up to a 25 percent reduction of their sentence. Lawmakers would also like to create more alternatives for low-level drug offenders. Nearly half of all current federal prisoners are serving sentences for drug crimes.

Today’s Question: Do you support reducing the sentences of drug offenders?

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“A performance by the Chicago rapper Chief Keef — or rather, his likeness, beamed live via hologram from California — was shut down by the police on Saturday night in Hammond, Ind., after warnings from the mayor’s office that the performer could not appear, even digitally, promoters said on Sunday,” writes Joe Coscarelli for the New York Times.

Chief Keef, 19, had billed the performance as a “Stop the Killing” benefit concert, meant to raise money for Marvin Carr, a fellow Chicago rapper who died in a shooting this month, and Dillan Harris, a 13-month-old child killed by a vehicle fleeing the scene of that shooting. The rapper opted not to appear in the Midwest in the flesh, citing outstanding warrants for his arrest, stemming from two child support cases.

Today’s Question: Is shutting down Chief Keef’s hologram concert a violation of the First Amendment?

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