Senators call for ban on purchase of sex to curb prostitution and trafficking

Wednesday 12th of October***


The Independent Senators (Taoiseach’s Nominees) will put a motion before the Seanad today proposing the Government introduce legislation criminalising the purchase of sex in order to curb prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The Independents describe prostitution in Ireland as a sophisticated and lucrative industry with more than 1000 women made available for paid sex on a daily basis. The Criminal Assets Bureau has valued the Irish sex industry at €250 million a year. The Independents believe that current laws on prostitution are ambiguous and insufficient. The motion notes evidence from Sweden and Norway which shows that criminal sanction for the purchase of sex are a proven deterrent to prostitution and consequently to trafficking and also to organised crime. Swedish police have stated that the Swedish ban on the purchase of sex acts as a barrier to human trafficking.

A 2009 report, commissioned by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, found that prostitution and trafficking are inextricably linked. 91 women and 11 children were trafficked into Ireland in 2007/2008 for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Senator Katherine Zappone stated, “We recognise that the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation is a modern form of slavery and a form of human rights abuse. International and Irish research documents time and again acknowledge characteristics of slavery, as it applies to sex trafficking and prostitution.”

Senator Jillian Van Turnhout added, “There is a reluctance to acknowledge that this very modern slave trade is happening here in Ireland. The evidence from child victims cannot be ignored any longer. Child trafficking is a problem at the heart of our communities, not just in our cities but in our towns and villages. It is imperative that we take all the steps necessary to tackle the trafficking of children in Ireland for sexual exploitation.”

The motion will be put before the Seanad at 5pm today. Coalition members from the Turn off the Red Light Campaign will be present in the visitor’s gallery for the debate.

Note to Editor:
Independent Senators (Taoiseach’s Nominees) are: Jillian Van Turnhout, Katherine Zappone, Fiach MacConghail, Eamonn Coghlan, Martin McAleese, Mary-Ann O’Brien and Marie-Louise O’Donnell.

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