It was reported in February 2019 that an independent review of workplace culture at Amnesty International showed a “toxic” environment with widespread bullying, public humiliation, discrimination & other abuses of power. Staff reported widespread racist & misogynist discrimination along with the targeting & mistreatment of LGBT employees.

Perhaps in trying to get to the bottom of this toxic work environment, Amnesty should take a look at its aggressive campaign to decriminalize prostitution & its efforts to shout down the Nordic Model. The Nordic Model is not just promoted by former prostitutes, feminists, & human rights workers but by over 600 organizations including trade unions & rape crisis centers. Amnesty frames prostitution as sex work, pimps & brothel owners as legitimate business operators, & johns as customers. But prostitution is on a continuum of violence against women which teaches men & boys that women’s bodies are play things, commodities, & that women are not fully human. Amnesty’s policy, implemented in 2016, was bankrolled & promoted by one of the leading pimps in England. If Amnesty publicly promotes sex for sale, the commodification of women & children in the name of human freedom, it is no wonder that its internal work climate reflects that ignominy.

Two prominent socialist organizations, one in England & one in the US, recently went through crises over rape allegations against one of their male leaders. In the postmortems, many are speculating that the problem was the organizational form of the groups. It’s much more likely that it’s the politics of those groups where they both aggressively campaign for decriminalizing prostitution as sex work, where they glorify the commodification of women & children as just another way to earn a living when it is the sexual exploitation of the poor, declassed, & vulnerable.