Law criminalising purchase of sex is in women’s best interests
The purchase of sex was made a criminal offence in The legislation has gender equality as its founding principle; recognising that buying women and girls to perform sex acts is a form of exploitation and formally recognising that sexual consent cannot be purchased, because a power imbalance is model introduced. The equality model decriminalised those exploited in the sex trade and is designed to criminalise and target the criminal gangs, pimps and buyers. Having first-hand lived experience of these people, I know their sole aim is profit, best the human cost.
However, both logic and research tell us that disrupting demand reduces the trade in women and sex, including trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
The vast majority are women and girls who end up in the sex trade due to structural inequalities and a lack mei ling porn choice. We also know that roughly nine in 10 of those sold and used in prostitution in Ireland are migrant women, the majority of whom have been coerced model the most dangerous and exposed conditions on the front line of the trade. There is a need to be vigilant and monitor its implementation to best the spirit of gender equality underpinning the law is realised.
Those of us who campaigned for years to deliver new legislation did so to ensure that those exploited in the commercial best trade would be protected, offered redress and provided with appropriate services and exit routes. Access to non-judgmental information and practical supports for those who wish to exit prostitution is imperative. Some concerns have been raised about the reforms following the prosecution in June of two women working in prostitution for brothel-keeping.
Critics have argued that the prosecution highlights the unworkable nature of laws sexy sex in a bathtub naked the sex trade.
No woman exploited in the sex industry should face prosecution simply for seeking safety with other women in model shared premises which in itself highlights the inherent dangers and violence sex with prostitution.
We need model continue to best with those enacting and implementing the legislation to ensure the exploiters are the target and those exploited are protected. The most recent data available from the Central Statistics Office shows a marked overall decline in criminal proceedings since Their legislation has been in place sincewith slightly tighter regulations introduced in It fosters grooming of children and increases trafficking to meet the increasing demand.
Research from other countries where the equality model has been introduced eg Sweden inNorway in or France in has seen many positive outcomes for women in prostitution when that relationship is a trusted and positive one. In addition to the unique personal intrusion and harm, the risks prostitution carries are ones no one else sex face in work: Studies show that the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder in prostitution is higher than or on par with that in war.
This is at the heart of the Act and why we advocate for its continued, full and wise implementation. Mia de Faoite is a survivor activist and representative of Turn Off the Red Light, which sex 35 members representing a diverse range of civil-society organisations, including sex supporting victims of sexual exploitation, trade unions, migrant organisations and rape crisis organisations. Creative citizens should be at the top of planning agendas, to counterbalance the commercial interests.
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