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Egypt’s Council for Women criticises Amnesty decriminalising sex trade vote

Ahram Online , Wednesday 12 Aug 2015
Mervat El-Tellawi
Mervat El-Tellawi, Secretary-general of the National Council for Women (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has criticised a recent Amnesty International (AI) vote in favour of adopting a policy that supports decriminalisation of the sex trade, including prostitution.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NCW described the vote as contradictory to “public morality and human dignity."

On Tuesday, Amnesty approved a resolution that recommends "full decriminalisation of all aspects of consensual sex work.”

The London-based watchdog argued that the new policy is the best way to defend sex workers’ human rights and lessen the risk of abuse and violations they face. It said that there was evidence that criminalisation of consensual adult sex work can lead to increased human rights violations against sex workers.

Amnesty also called for states to “ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence.”

“The vote violates women rights and turns women into a sex commodity,” the head of NCW, Mervat El-Tallawi, was quoted as saying in the statement.

The NCW statement also added that prostitution decriminalisation would lead to the spread of diseases and street children phenomena.

El-Tallawi called on Amnesty to focus on more pressing matters related to fighting poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment.

Prostitution has been illegal in Egypt since 1949.

Amnesty's vote came hours after a heated debate among 400 delegates from 70 countries.

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