U.N. Chooses Teen Prostitution Advocate for Top Human Rights Post

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According to a report at international human rights watchdog organization C-Fam, South African Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng has risen quickly at the U.N., from “sexual health and rights advocate” to the top post of Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, a role that will give her a global platform to urge the decriminalization of the sex trade.

“Mofokeng’s reports advancing sexual rights, including the legalizing of prostitution, will likely be cited as authoritative interpretations of human rights law by U.N. agencies and like-minded Member States,” C-Fam observed.

Last year, Mofokeng, author of Dr. T: A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure, and host of television show Sex Talk with Dr. T. created a firestorm following publication of her article at Teen Vogue that encouraged teen girls to consider “sex work.”

“I am a doctor, an expert in sexual health, but when you think about it, aren’t I a sex worker? And in some ways, aren’t we all?” Mofokeng asked in her article, “Why Sex Work Is Real Work.”

She further attempted to normalize prostitution:

Not all sex workers engage in penetrative sex, though, undeniably, that is a big part of sex work. Sex-worker services between consenting adults may include companionship, intimacy, nonsexual role playing, dancing, escorting, and stripping. These roles are often pre-determined, and all parties should be comfortable with them. Many workers take on multiple roles with their clients, and some may get more physical while other interactions that may have started off as sexual could evolve into emotional and psychological bonding.

“The idea of purchasing intimacy and paying for the services can be affirming for many people who need human connection, friendship, and emotional support,” Mofokeng continued. “Some people may have fantasies and kink preferences that they are able to fulfill with the services of a sex worker.”

As C-Fam reported in July, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation praised Mofokeng for her leadership in the area of family planning in 2016.

In her Teen Vogue article, Mofokeng criticized the United States for legislation that “makes it harder for sex workers to advertise online.”

Anti-human trafficking organizations denounced Mofokeng’s call for the normalization of prostitution as merely another occupation. Deidre Pujols, founder of Open Gate International and co-founder of Strike Out Slavery, said:

The idea that legalizing or decriminalizing commercial sex would reduce its harms is a persistent myth. Many claim if the sex trade were legal, regulated, and treated like any other profession, it would be safer. But research suggests otherwise. Countries that have legalized or decriminalized commercial sex often experience a surge in human trafficking, pimping, and other related crimes.

As C-Fam reported, Haley McNamara, vice president for the UK-based International Centre on Sexual Exploitation, also noted, “Sex buyers do not view the women they purchase as individuals worthy of respect, but instead as subhuman objects to use.”

McNamara cited a U.S. study that found 75% of women prostitutes reported they have been raped by sex buyers.

Similarly, Helen Taylor, director of intervention for Exodus Cry, a group that seeks to break the cycle of sexual exploitation, criticized Mofokeng for her support to decriminalize the sex trade, including pimps who often serve as traffickers.

“The United Nations ought to be the last place to advocate for human-traffickers and the buyers who fuel demand to be legalized,” Taylor asserted.

In an op-ed at the Guardian in June 2018, Mofokeng criticized President Donald Trump’s Mexico City Policy, which abortion rights supporters refer to as the “global gag rule.”

Immediately after his inauguration in January 2017, Trump signed an executive order reinstating the policy that bans non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. funds from providing or promoting abortion, as a method of family planning, overseas.