Case 20-2016: United Nations (UN) & Secretary General Ban Ki-moon & Secretary General Antonio Guterres
MANIFESTO on Prostitution
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights, defender of the rights of global citizenship and of all beings of Mother Earth, exercising the cultural sovereignty that emanates from the Buddhist Peoples and Spiritual Communities, is aware of the situation of exploitation that millions of women are suffering throughout the world by means of prostitution;
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights has a universal ethical vocation, so that it calls upon the entire international community to become aware of the crimes against women that are being perpetrated by means of prostitution and the sexual trafficking networks;
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights addresses the United Nations (UN) from the perspective of Ethics and International Law in order to analyze the legal situation that the legalization of prostitution implies;
It is stated that the United Nations (UN) is violating one of the main precepts of Buddhist Law, because by supporting the legalization of prostitution, the precept of developing an adequate sexuality is violated, since it should be practiced healthy and respectfully, always based on the experience of love and the recognition of the dignity of the fellow beings.
It is stated that when interpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, prostitution would be prohibited by articles 4 and 5, where it is explicitly forbidden to subdue people to slavery, servitude, human trafficking, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
It is stated that prostitution is nothing more than a form of slavery, being also functional to human trafficking, organized crime and corruption, since low-income girls and women and other vulnerable groups such as immigrants would be co-opted to be exploited during their whole lives under conditions that could never resemble a decent job.
It is stated that the United Nations (UN) should eradicate prostitution and human trafficking, often associated with selling poor women and girls for sexual slavery, having the duty to comply with the vision of many international conventions and protocols approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, so that the UN should respect the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, which affirms that prostitution and trafficking violate the dignity and value of the human being, and they endanger the well-being of the individual, family and community, reason why anyone who allows prostitution or exploits it should be punished even if there is consent of the person.
It is stated that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in its Article 6, has the goal to struggle against trafficking in women and the exploitation of female prostitution.
It is stated that the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women establishes that violence against women includes physical, sexual and psychological violence, sexual abuse, trafficking in women and forced prostitution.
It is stated that the Palermo Protocol of 2000 seeks to prevent and punish the trafficking in women and children, complementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
It is stated that the legalization of prostitution would be a form of support for pedophilia and sexual abuse of minors, because in prostitution, female child prostitutes are often used by adult men, and also adult women prostitutes usually admit male children as clients, both cases constituting crimes against children that usually go totally unpunished.
It is stated that in the United States of America there is a plague of murders of prostitutes which has been left in total impunity, because they are considered as a social pariah and this makes that they are not adequately protected by security forces.
It is stated that legalization of prostitution is unconstitutional and betrays human rights treaties, because it reduces the intrinsic dignity of the human being to an object, merchandise or instrument of consumption, both in the case of women and girls as well as in the case of men and transsexuals who also belong to prostitution networks.
It is stated that the mass media convey an unfavorable image of women when showing them as an object or merchandise, thus disregarding the dignity and liberty of the human being.
It is stated that the Cambodian activist Somaly Mam of the Afesip organization, who has received international awards for rescuing dozens of women forced to prostitute themselves, is absolutely right in stating that legalizing prostitution goes against dignity and it means legalizing violence against women, since female trafficking could not be dissociated from the legalization of prostitution, because trafficking is a consequence of the supply and demand developed by the prostitution business.
It is stated that the Buddhist Tribunal agrees with Janice G. Raymond, director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), who in March 2003 said that legalizing prostitution as a job does not mean empowering women but rather strengthens the sexual industry, so that from data of the Netherlands and Australia she argued multiple reasons against the legalization of prostitution, as it would be a gift for pimps and traffickers to become entrepreneurs, would promote sexual trafficking of poor foreign women, would expand and would not control sex industry, would increase illegal prostitution by not protecting anonymity, would promote child prostitution, would not protect women prostitutes from violence, would increase the demand for prostitution by encouraging men to buy women as sexual consumption products in environments of permissibility and acceptance, would not promote improvements in women’s health for being exposed to venereal transmission diseases, would not increase the women’s possibilities to choose, and it would go against the will of millions of women who do not want to legalize the sex industry.
It is stated that in 2001, in a scandalous way, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled the recognition of prostitution as an independent economic activity, which is a similar position to that of the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands and its consideration that the prohibition of prostitution would conflict with the right to free choice of work, despite the fact that obviously the oppression and commercialization of women along with slavery do not constitute forms of dignified work.
It is stated that in 1998 the International Labor Organization (ILO), which is part of the United Nations (UN), suggested the international community that prostitution be legalized as a legitimate economic sector in order to collect taxes for the State coffers, even though the ILO itself recognizes the fact that prostitution is an alienated form of work where women work suffering, with remorse and forced, reason why sociologist Julio Godio – a specialist in labor issues and former member of the ILO – stated that it is an aberration that this UN dependent institution proposes to legalize prostitution as work, since it would be legalizing oppression despite the fact that the ILO has agreements against slavery and forced labor (Convention No. 29), rather than encouraging the fact that prostitutes free themselves from their exploiters.
It is stated that it is a historical shame that the United Nations (UN), through its 2012 report entitled “Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific”, recommends the legalization of prostitution in Asian-Pacific countries under the pretext that this would bring large amounts of social, legal and health benefits for prostitutes.
It is stated that the legalization of prostitution does nothing but expand the sexual market of women and increase human trafficking, as described by Seo-Young Choa Axel Dreher and Eric Neumayer in 2012 in their work called “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?”.
It is stated that Rachel Lloyd, director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, is right when saying that the solution to prostitution does not lie in the criminalization of victims neither in the legalization as sexual work, but is found in the criminal prosecution of traffickers and clients of prostitution, penalizing the demand but not its supply, as happens in the Nordic model, in addition to dealing with structural social problems such as poverty and ignorance to avoid the economic coercion suffered by the prostitutes, all of which produce a significant decline in the social malaise of prostitution.
It is stated that the way to reduce prostitution is not through its legalization but through the reduction of demand, creating an integral strategy against trafficking in persons and the use of women as merchandise, because the best way to fight against prostitution and sexual exploitation is the Nordic model of Sweden, Iceland and Norway, where buying sexual services is a crime at the same time that victims who exercise this resource are not criminalized, so the model is persecuting clients instead of the prostitutes.
It is stated that at the end of the 20th century the Swedish government banned and penalized the sexual purchase of women, stating that prostitution is an undesirable social phenomenon and an obstacle to the development of gender equality.
It is stated that prostitution constitutes an act of gender inequality and violence that affects more than 40 million people in the world, being one of the most atrocious violations of basic human rights that exists.
It is stated that the defenders of the legalization of prostitution often use the same rhetoric as the defenders of the legalization of abortion and the legalization of drugs, by saying in a utilitarian way that women have the right to do what they want with their bodies.
It is stated that in June 2017 the UN and the WHO have called on the international community to decriminalize the use of drugs and prostitution, not only ensuring that this would improve public health, but also even lying by saying that punitive laws have negative results.
It is stated that Secretary General Guterres of the UN is right to confirm that prostitution and sexual slavery thrive where laws are weak or nonexistent, as impunity and injustice are fueled by these crimes that would be much worse than drug trafficking.
It is stated that the majority of people who practice prostitution in their childhood have been victims of some form of rape or even incest, which is a vicious circle whereas prostitution leaves physical and psychic consequences that are lasting and almost as devastating as torture.
It is stated that the UN in 2017 has begun to try to decriminalize prostitution in the international community, calling it a sexual work despite the fact that women rescued from prostitution confirm that it is actually paid rape and not a job.
It is stated that the majority of victims who practice prostitution would like to abandon it, although they do not have the resources to be able to do so, and therefore they need humanitarian help and solidarity from all society.
The United Nations Organization (UNO) is required to immediately adopt righteous and appropriate policies that do not violate human rights, fundamental freedoms and the intrinsic dignity of the people, so that a zero tolerance approach that prevents and protect victims of prostitution should be urgently initiated, by judging clients or criminals and simultaneously directing economic resources to help prostitutes to be free of the exploitation and alienation that they suffer.
On August 23, 2018, as a way of contribution to a more peaceful, just, cultured and healthy world, the present Manifesto on Prostitution is expressed.
Always with reconciliation (maitri),
Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha
President and Judge of the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights