Amnesty misinterprets evidence on decriminalization of prostitution

Amnesty International appears eager to decriminalize buying sex. In its draft policy proposal, as a model country, it points to New Zealand, where prostitution was decriminalized in 2003, and argues, among other things:

A literature review prepared for the New Zealand Ministry of Justice found that sex workers were less willing prior to decriminalisation to disclose their occupation to health care workers or to carry condoms.

First of all, even though the draft is nicely presented with footnotes and references to exact page numbers, the cited literature review actually presents no such evidence (which is logical since it was written so shortly after prostitution was decriminalized that it is hard to see that any research on the effect of the law could possibly have been conducted by then).

Second, if one instead turns to the actual data that was collected by the studies that were commissioned by New Zealand’s government, it is clearly concluded that when comparing the situation before and after decriminalization, there “was no significant difference in accessing of a GP [a doctor], disclosure of occupation to the GP and services accessed for sexual health check-ups.”


Simon Hedlin

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