Adult Sex Work and the Shoddy Journalism of the Irish Times.

Dear Kevin O’Sullivan, Editor of the Irish Times,

I refer to this article

[Screendump of entire article below]


[Highlight of passage where the word “caramelise” is used below.]


in the Irish Times today where it is reported that the latest Amnesty International Council Meeting has voted to endorse a call for the decriminalization of adult sex work around the world.

The resolution means the ICM calls on Amnesty’s international board to “adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers, through measures that include the decriminalisation of sex work”.

This is welcome news.

However the way Kitty Holland has written this report leaves much to be desired. It is written that ““Amnesty International considers human trafficking abhorrent in all of its forms, including sexual exploitation, and should be caramelised as a matter of international law.”

“Caramelized”?! Clearly Amnesty International meant “criminalized”. Is your newspaper supposed to be the national newspaper of record or a reiteration of the Onion ?

There are more examples of bias in this article, for example , the silhouetted adult sex worker at the top of the article which is stigmatizing I think. Adult sex workers are made of flesh and blood like the rest of us. How about showing them as such?

Also mention is made of the “successful” Turn Off The Red Light campaign. “Successful”? TORL legislation or Swedish model legislation that seeks to abolish with a stroke of the pen adult sex work has not yet been passed by the Dail. One shouldn’t count one’s chickens before they are hatched et cetera.

And the article is categorized under “Religion and Beliefs”. I personally would categorize the article and the good news contained within under “Human Rights”. We religionize so much in Ireland.

Religionize. Caramelize. [sighs]

Kitty Holland trivializes Amnesty International by referring to it as a charity. I prefer to look at it as an International Human Rights Organization. Naturally, she makes no mention of the trend amongst International Human Rights Organizations including those of the United Nations family in recent years to endorse the decriminalization of adult sex work. UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS), WHO (World Health Organization) and UNDP (United Nations Development Program) have already endorsed the decriminalization of adult sex work.

Paul Carr


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