India (MNN) — Over the last few days, Amnesty International has been discussing voting on whether to support worldwide decriminalization of prostitution. If the proposal is approved, Amnesty will appeal to governments to eliminate most laws that prohibit sex work.
While the voting goes on, Help India Kids says someone is consistently scathed and forgotten: children of prostitute women.
Why Some Believe Prostitution Should Be Legal
The leading human rights organization’s draft policy argues, “The violations that sex workers can be exposed to include physical and sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion and harassment, human trafficking, forced HIV testing and medical interventions. They can also be excluded from health care and housing services and other social and legal protection.”
Amnesty stresses that if prostitution is legalized, women will be safe from being violated, raped, abused, and arrested.
“The consultation doesn’t change Amnesty’s long-standing position that forced labor and human trafficking constitute serious human rights abuses and must be criminalized,” it reassures.
The organization says they have drawn evidence from UN agencies like World Health Organization, UN AIDS, and UN Women that backs up their beliefs. Amnesty also says they have held consultations with sex worker groups, abolitionist organizations, anti-trafficking agencies, and women’s rights representatives.
Many are agreeing with the proposal.
The Huffington Post reports a petition in support of the policy has received more than 6,000 signatures from prostitutes and advocacy groups scattered around the world. Photos of protestors in agreement with Amnesty’s policy are being published all around the world.
Prostitution In India and the Kids it affects
Among the protestors are sex workers in India, where the Supreme Court has been deciding on whether to legalize prostitution.
Tripti Tandon of the Lawyers Collective advocacy group told Dawn News the current criminalizing law in India “assumes that all sex workers are victims and fails to recognize their right to a livelihood. The sex workers don’t consider themselves as victims, so why impose it [the law] on them?”
Some women choose the work optionally, others have been forced into it, and many were born into it.
But, Half the Sky Movement reports a study of 9 countries proved 89% of sex workers want to escape. They feel trapped and feel that they have no other option. A lot of times, this is because they don’t know how else they’ll find money to feed their children.
“The sex trade is not victimless,” says executive director of Help India Kids, Jonathan Bollback. “The children who are the offspring of the mothers’ business are at risk.”
With 2-3 million prostitutes in India, there are even more children.
“Girls are very valuable because they are future income…. The boys are at risk of being discarded because they are not future hope for the pimp, frankly.”
Girls are born into the brothels and raised up to take after their mothers. They know nothing else but that work and often have no choice but to stay. And, boys are left on streets to fend for themselves–even infants and young boys. There ends up being very little hope for them.
But in southern India, Help India Kids is giving them support to live and learn.
“We go in and we try to help rescue boys and raise them up,” Bollback says. “At the same time that we are trying to rescue boys, we’re trying to help with the girls and to bring them hope in life.”
Currently, Help India Kids has two homes–one for boys and one for girls. The ministry to boys has been going on for a while, but the girls’ ministry is just beginning; a second girls’ home is in the works.
Each home offers shelter, food, a good education, and the message of God.
“These folks [workers] model life, model faith. They show it through action, word, and deed, the faith in the Word of God. In that process, we’re able to share,” Bollback says.
Just as boys are discarded, so are older prostitute women, as pimps no longer see them as valuable. In the near future, Help Kids India hopes to make a connection and minister to them as well. Pray that this will come to fruition.
Amnesty’s final ruling will be August 11. Pray that God will change members’ minds and hearts. Pray that the children of prostitute women will be remembered. Also, pray that Help India Kids’ ministries to the children will be life-changing and will help them find hope, value, and identity in Christ.
“We’re a small drop in the bucket, but we go in trying to bring change, trying to bring hope, trying to bring a future to these children, trying to give them life in this world and, ultimately, life eternal.”