As a migrant rights non-governmental organisation that works directly with women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking, our experience is that those in prostitution currently bear the brunt of Ireland’s outdated legislation. Most will incur criminal convictions for minor offences and, as international research indicates, this is often a barrier to them exiting prostitution or seeking help.
For the criminals who organise and control prostitution, the sex industry is a high gain, low risk enterprise where huge profits can be made on a daily basis.
In June 2013 the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality ruled unanimously in favour of introducing sex buyer laws as per the Nordic model. The committee also ruled in favour of decriminalisation for women and men affected by prostitution, better support services for those exiting, and increased powers for An Garda Síochána to combat organised crime.
We call on the Government to enact the Justice Committee’s recommendations without any further delay.