Four NGOs Issue Collective Statement Against Sexual Exploitation at the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:05 PM

On February 28, 2008, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, UNANIMA International, and the Mouvement pour l’Abolition de la Prostitution et la Pornographie issued an oral collective statement at the Fifty-Second Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The statement urged the Commission take immediate action to address sexual exploitation by changing international laws and policies, as well as implement political and economic stipulations, to fully criminalize the sex industry.  The members of the collective argue that policies which focus on regulating, tolerating, or legalizing the sex industry fail to acknowledge the exploitation that women in the sex industry face both within and across national borders.

Furthermore, the collective puts forward in their statement that "prostitution" should not be labeled as "sex work," as this implies that the job is normal and legitimate. Along with this statement, they encourage that the enumeration of "voluntary" sex work be erased from international definitions of human trafficking, as this presupposes that prostitution becomes less harmful to women and/or children once they turn 18.

Underlying the collective's recommendations to the Commission is the belief that "trafficking, prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation are fueled by male demand." Therefore, they encourage the UN, the Commission on the Status of Women, or any society seeking gender equality to prohibit the sexual commodification of women and children.  

The collective ends the statement by encouraging governments and civil society to back increased funding and support for trafficking victims, as well as back public education programs on sexual exploitation.

Compiled from: "UN Commission on the Status of Women--Oral Statement on Eradicating Commercial Sexual Exploitation," Coalition Against Trafficking in Women,, 28 February 2008.