Institute for Feminism & Human Rights deplores Amnesty International’s decision on prostitution

PRESS RELEASE – It is with great concern, we receive the news that Amnesty International today has voted to adopt a policy, which supports the violations committed by the prostitution industry, and which strikes at the heart of the human rights of women and girls. We reconfirm our commitment to continue the struggle against prostitution of women and girls, and against those – pimps, prostitution buyers and traffickers –  who hold up and profit from this form of sexualised violence and oppression directed against women and girls.

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Northern Ireland Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act entered into force

On June 1, 2015, the Northern Ireland  Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Act came into force, which means that those, who purchase a sexual service, now are committing a crime (s. 15) and can be arrested. It also means that the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety must prepare and publish a strategy for the provision of assistance and support services for those who wish to leave prostitution (s. 19).

We want to thank everyone who has worked so tirelessly to make this happen, including our chairperson, Gunilla Ekberg, who has acted as an expert and testified to the Northern Ireland Justice Committee for the benefit of the law during the past three years.

The legislation can be found via this link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nia/2015/2/contents/enacted

Virtual Roundtable on Sexual Exploitation

On 20 May 2015, the Forum on Women at the Carter Center, organized a virtual roundtable entitled “Ending Sexual Exploitation in Prostitution and Pornography: Next Steps.” The virtual roundtable was a follow-up to the Summit on Ending Sexual Exploitation, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, on May 11 and 12, 2015.

Hosted by Karin Ryan, Senior Human Rights Advisor to President Carter, speakers Dr. Kathleen Barry, Gunilla Ekberg, Human Rights Lawyer, and Dr. Gail Dines discussed initiatives to end sexual exploitation of women through prostitution and pornography.

The roundtable discussion is available via the following link. Gunilla Ekberg’s contribution starts at 30:30 minutes.

http://ow.ly/NigXj

The Amnesty International debate on prostitution in Nijmegen, Netherlands

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On February 25, Amnesty International Studentgroup Nijmegen organized a debate about prostitution in the Netherlands, entitled: “Prostitution and how to deal with it”. The event, which was hosted by the University of Nijmegen, was attended by 50 students, who participated in a lively debate about how to analyze and view prostitution, whether or not it is a form of violence against women and how to regard the buyers of sexual acts.

The event invitation can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/events/600561136746976

Speakers of the evening were:

Karin Werkman, researcher and representative of the Institute for Feminism & Human Rights.

Lyle Muns, male sex worker and representative of PROUD, an recently founded interest group for sex workers in the Netherlands.

Testimonies to the Canadian parliament available online

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The transcripts of the testimonies by Gunilla S. Ekberg to the Canadian parliament on Bill C-36: ‘An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts’ are available online in the English and French languages. They can be accessed via the following links:

30 October 2014 (Senate):

English: http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/committee/412/LCJC/19EV-51691-E.HTM

French: http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/committee/412/LCJC/19EV-51691-F.HTM

9 July 2014 (House of Commons):

English: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=6687033&Language=E&Mode=1

French: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=6687033&Mode=1&Language=F

Lebanon: KAFA launches new campaign on prostitution and trafficking

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On September 15, the Lebanese women’s organisation KAFA, (enough) Violence & Exploitation, launched their new national campaign. It is titled: ‘Fight Prostitution, Fight Trafficking’. At the conference, KAFA presented a new research report on men who purchase sexual services in Lebanon. The research report is available here. Gunilla Ekberg was one of the main speakers at the conference. Below you can find the conference flyer. Visit KAFA’s website for more information.

KAFA 2014 flyer

Norway: Evaluation of ban on purchase of a sexual service published

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The evaluation by an independent team of researchers of the Norwegian legislation that prohibits the purchase of a sexual service is now available. As was the case with the evaluation of the Swedish legislation in 2010, the evaluators conclude the following:
1. The ban on purchasing a sexual service has reduced demand for sex and thus contributes to reduce the extent of prostitution in Norway.
2. The enforcement of the law, in combination with the laws against human trafficking and pimping, makes Norway a less attractive country for prostitution-based trafficking than what would have been the case if the law had not been adopted.
3. Furthermore, the economic conditions for prostitution in Norway are reduced following the implementation of the law.
4. These effects are in line with the intentions of the law and are, thus, not considered as unintended side effects.
5. This report does not find any evidence of more violence against persons in prostitution after the ban on buying a sexual service entered into force.

You can find the evaluation report here.
The lead researcher gave a short interview on Norwegian television here.

UK: Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

Anna Edman-Bastos of the Institute for Feminism and Human Rights was invited to attend the End Sexual Violence in Conflict event at the British Embassy in Stockholm on 11 June 2014.

The event consisted of a screening of Kvinna till Kvinna’s short documentary called ‘Women’s War’ followed by a panel debate with representatives from Kvinna till Kvinna and the Swedish Red Cross chaired by the British Embassy Head of Mission, Alison Thorpe. There were also social entrepreneurs from various countries who provided insights to their businesses and their causes.

The event was part of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict hosted in London on 10-13 June, 2014, and co-chaired by the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague.

Canada: Testimony to Justice and Human Right Committee about Bill C-36

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On July 9, 2014, Gunilla S. Ekberg testified to the Canadian House of Common Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights about Bill C-36.

Read her written submission under Resources on our website.

You can also see her video link testimony if you go to the following link, and click on July 9.

EU: IF&HR to participate in the EU Civil Society e-Platform against trafficking in human beings

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Recently, the European Union adopted two important new instruments addressing trafficking in human beings: Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and the European Commission Communication titled The EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016.

As a concrete action to strengthen the role of civil society in addressing the challenges of trafficking in human beings in the EU, the  recently adopted Strategy sees to the establishment of an EU Platform of civil society organizations working on victim protection and assistance in Member States.

The Platform’s main objective is to serve as a forum for civil society to engage at the EU level and exchange experiences in order to enhance coordination and cooperation amongst key actors.

Our organization has been selected to participate in the EU Civil Society e-Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings.