A report issued by the United Nations-backed Global Commission on HIV and the Law; recommends that nations around the world get rid of “punitive” laws against prostitution – or what it calls “consensual sex work” — and decriminalize the voluntary use of illegal injection drugs in order to combat the HIV epidemic.
The commission, which is made up of 15 former heads of state, legal scholars and HIV/AIDS activists, was convened in 2010 by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and is jointly backed by the United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS – the Joint U.N. Programme on AIDS/HIV.
The commission recommends repealing all laws that prohibit “adult consensual sex work,” as well as clearly distinguishing in law and practice between sexual trafficking and prostitution.
The report–“HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health”–cites a recommendation by the International Labour Organization, which recommends that “sex work” should be recognized as an occupation in order to be regulated “in a way that protects workers and customers.”
Specifically, the commission wants to:
— “Decriminalise private and consensual adult sexual behaviours, including same-sex sexual acts and voluntary sex work.”
— “Reform approaches towards drug use. Rather than punishing people who use drugs but do no harm to others, governments must offer them access to elective HIV and health services, including harm reduction programmes and voluntary, evidence-based treatment for drug dependence.”
— “Work with the guardians of customary and religious law to promote traditions and religious practice that promote rights and acceptance of diversity and that protect privacy.”
The commission calls laws against prostitution “bad laws,” and said criminalizing injecting drug use and prostitution stands in the way of “effective HIV responses.”
“Laws that criminalize and dehumanize populations at the highest risk of HIV–including men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and injecting drug users–drive people underground, away from essential health services and heighten their risk of HIV,” the commission said in a July 9 press release announcing the report.
The commission says 116 countries and territories have punitive laws against sex work and 80 countries or territories have some legal protections for sex workers.
According to the report: “Some governments deploy anti-human trafficking laws so broadly that they conflate voluntary and consensual exchanges of sex for money with the exploitative, coerced, often violent trafficking of people (primarily women and girls) for the purposes of sex.”
The report quotes Secretary-General Ban, who stated his support in 2009 for removing all laws which criminalize “sex workers” – or prostitutes.
“I urge all countries to remove punitive laws, policies and practices that hamper the AIDS response,” Ban said. “Successful AIDS responses do not punish people: they protect them. We must ensure that AIDS responses are based on evidence, not ideology, and reach those most in need and most affected.”
Adult-us.com Comments: Well, it’s about time… But sadly, I doubt many countries will change their draconian laws regarding prostitution due to too many religious nut jobs wielding their political clout (but, being the hypocrites they are, secretly using prostitutes themselves)