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AS a frontline organisation and independent law centre which has supported 19 victims of trafficking in the past year, the Immigrant Council of Ireland welcomes the commitment of the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, to prioritising the Sexual Offences Bill in the coming Oireachtas term (‘Minister to proceed with plan to criminalise sex buyers’, Irish Examiner, August 14).
We believe the legislation is an opportunity to fully implement the unanimous recommendation of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, by switching the focus of law to those who fuel crime by buying sex and away from the seller.
The bill represents an historic opportunity to bring Ireland into line not only with a growing international trend, but also with the laws that have been in force in Northern Ireland since June 1.
By taking this approach not only will demand for these crimes be curbed, but the women and girls will be offered protections and supports without fear of prosecution.
We are also anxious that those who have been trafficked into this country are given early access to legal representation, so as their internationally guaranteed rights are respected.
The Immigrant Council is committed, in the coming weeks, to working with the 73 partner organisations of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign, as well as politicians from all sides, so as to secure these goals.
Immigrant Council of Ireland
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