Sex Work Appeal: Say No to Amnesty

Siouxsie Q.
4 min readFeb 10, 2022

By Siouxsie Q Wednesday, Aug 5, 2015

An open letter to Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, and Lena Dunham.

Dear Ladies of the Silver Screen,

Though you might never call me “sister,” our jobs aren’t so different, really. We all play make-believe, wear costumes, and improvise. We strive to stay present and authentic with our scene partners, and we perfect the art of convincing people that we’re falling in love.

Actresses and whores have historically kept close company. If we lived in Shakespeare’s time — when it was illegal for women to perform onstage but perfectly legal to be a prostitute — we might have worked at the same brothel next to the Globe and put on plays after hours in secret.

But let’s cut to the chase.

As you may know, Amnesty International has recently come out with a groundbreaking draft of a new proposal on the rights of sex workers. Calling for a harm reduction approach, it includes full decriminalization of the sex industry. The language is firm:

“The available evidence indicates that the criminalization of sex work is more likely than not to reinforce discrimination against those who sell sex, placing them at greater risk of harassment and violence, including ill-treatment at the hands of police. This, in turn, interferes with and undermines sex workers’ right to health and public health interventions, in particular HIV prevention, and serves as a contributing factor in the denial of access to justice, police protection, and legal due process, as well as the exclusion of sex workers from social protections such as health services, housing, education, and immigration status.”

Your names, along with dozens of others, appeared at the bottom of a July 22 letter asking two Amnesty executives and its Board of Directors to reject this draft.

Look, I know you are all very concerned about the safety of sex workers, particularly those who may be forced, coerced, or trafficked.

I am, too. So is Amnesty, which is why it’s following the model set by the World Health Organization and Human Rights Watch, which also recommend a harm reduction and decriminalization approach.

From what I gather, you are hoping they’ll amend this draft so that sex work is only partially criminalized — perhaps only going after traffickers and clients.



Siouxsie Q.

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