Ireland's justice minister, Alan Shatter, has published a major new document which looks at whether Ireland's laws around prostitution should be changed. He writes:
I am pleased to publish this discussion document, which is being issued to assist a public consultation process on the future direction of legislation on prostitution.
The criminal law in this area is being reviewed primarily because of the changed nature of prostitution in Ireland. Prostitution in this country was once mainly a street-based phenomenon. That is no longer the case. The organisation of prostitution is
now much more sophisticated, highly mobile and is easily facilitated by the use of mobile phones and the internet.
While there is a significant amount of criminal legislation in this area already, there is always scope for change and improvement. It is important to review the law periodically to ensure it is up to date and comprehensively responds to altered
The document identifies several approaches of law from drecriminalisation to prohibition. It claims to be neutral about the options, but supporters of a particular approach are expected to say how it will reduce the scale of prostitution rather than
explaining how it will reduce the problems associated with prostitution.
Update: Nutters somehow correlate migrant sex workers with supposed trafficking
A conference in Dublin on sex trafficking is calling on the government to make it illegal to pay for sex. A review of the law on prostitution is an opportunity to send a strong message to those who control the sex trade in Ireland, according to
the nutter organisers. Trade minister Joe Costello will speak at the conference.
Denise Charlton, of the Immigrant Council of Ireland claims:
We know that 97% of women in prostitution here are migrants, often tricked into travelling to Ireland under the false pretence of a better life.
Ireland now has a unique opportunity to address a shortfall in the law which has allowed this sordid trade to grow. We are asking all like-minded groups and individuals to join us and either through public statement or by making a submission to tell the
government the only way to end this trade is to cut off supply by prosecuting men who purchase sex.
A miserable campaign to criminalise men who pay for sex has launched billboards in Dublin, Cork,
Limerick, Sligo and Waterford.
Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland which has helped support the campaign, said all avenues need to be explored to raise awareness and force a law change. She said The story of Anna depicted on the billboards
is in no way unique and reflects a reality which exists in every county in Ireland.
The Turn Off The Red Light Campaign cited Department of Justice figures for 2011 which show that eight children were trafficked into Ireland for sexual exploitation, with 15 detected in 2010.
Charlton said: Public support is needed to bring about real change and we hope the billboard and Twitter campaign will motivate people to contact their local politicians and demand that the sex trade is shut down by making it illegal to pay
Turn Off The Red Light campaigns to end prostitution in Ireland and is backed by more than 50 organisations including trade unions, political parties and nutter groups. It wants to make Ireland's vice laws similar to Sweden where people who pay
for sex are criminalised before the prostitute.
Miserable Irish politicians considering banning prostitution have been urged to back off by a leading escort agency.
MPs and senators mulling over new laws to outlaw customers paying for sex have even been invited to visit the offices of Escort Ireland. The web firm submitted a lengthy appeal to the Leinster House committee looking at law changes. Their submission
We believe there is nothing wrong with someone paying for sexual services and most clients are decent people.
We don't think adults should be prosecuted for privately paying other consenting adults for sex. Escort Ireland, which by-passes a ban on advertising sex services by operating from the UK, warned against driving the business underground. They added:
We feel the views of sex workers are the views that need to be heard more than any others.
'Justice' and Equality Committee member and Fine Gael TD David Stanton said:
The committee should be careful about what weight it affords certain submissions like this one. There are all sorts of people involved in prostitution and they have their own agendas.
Sexwork.ie is an escort advertising company's blog on the 2012 Irish Government consultation on prostitution.
The site is keeping track of submissions to the Irish governments consultation on changing the country's prostitution laws.
The site has analysed the submission from the umbrella campaign group Turn Off the Red Light. It has also just published the consultation result from the most extremist of the Irish anti prostitution campaigners of Ruhama . Predictably it
has called for extreme punishments to all activities linked to sex work and of course the criminalisation of people who purchase sex.
Ireland's Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality yesterday heard arguments for and against the criminalisation of buying
It was good to hear of a little compassion from one lawmaker.
Senator Mary White said she had compassion for those who had no access to legitimate sexual relationships . She said people had an obvious psychological and physical need for sex and she asked if the selling of sex should not be legitimised to
protect the buyer and the seller.
Legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex will be introduced to the Dail tomorrow. The Criminal Law Sexual Offences Bill, to be introduced by Independent TD Thomas Pringle, sets out to impose harsh criminal sanctions on those who pay for sex.
Persecution of men via the so called Swedish model is being advocated in Ireland by the Turn off the Red Light Campaign. The campaign, is endorsed by 68 organisations including various gender extremist groups eg Ruhama, the Irish Congress of Trade
Unions, the Labour Party and Barnardos.
[The Bill] will reduce the demand for sexual services, thereby reducing the incidence of prostitution in society. It will create a situation that will remove the attractiveness of prostitution and trafficking from organised criminal elements by creating
the risk for purchasers of sexual services to be prosecuted with the element of 'name and shame' acting as a deterrent.
Penalties The Bill provides for an ascending scale of penalties, from a fixed-notice fine of EUR500 for first-time offenders, to a EUR4,000 fine and/or four-week jail sentence for repeat offenders.
UglyMugs.ie invited Irish indoor sex workers to take part in the research, which aimed to learn more about escorts in Ireland and particularly about their experiences of crime and abuse. This is the first ever survey of indoor sex workers in Ireland and
195 female, male and trans* escorts took part. Although the survey cannot be considered representative of all persons selling sex in Ireland, 195 participants is a very significant proportion of the Irish sex worker population.
The escorts who took part in the survey were from 29 different countries. Most were aged in their 20s or 30s and highly educated. Just over half had worked in sex work in another country prior to becoming an escort in Ireland. 97.3% were self-employed
independent escorts, though 33.3% had experience of working for a third party, e.g. an escort agency, in Ireland or elsewhere in the past.
Despite it being popularly reported in the media that children are involved in prostitution, there was no evidence of the involvement of any under 16s and only one participant was aged under 18.
Participants reported low alcohol and drug use, high condom use, and taking a number of security measures whilst working as an escort, the top ones being not getting in cars with clients (65.3%), taking more precautions when it is a new client (58.1%)
and not working alone (41.1%) despite the laws in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that force escorts to work alone if they want to work legally.
Ireland's sex worker population overwhelmingly works indoors with access to phones and the Internet, which is safe conditions, in comparison to outdoor sex working. However, many of the participants reported experiences of a wide range of crime and
abuses. It is also clear that a wide range of persons commit crime against sex workers in Ireland, not only clients.
66.7% of participants who had been a victim of crime whilst working as an escort in Ireland did not report to the police. The high level of stigma associated with being an escort being the primary barrier to engaging with police.
Participants said that other escorts were the biggest source of help to them after experiencing crime. The research confirmed that currently there are no useful support services for escorts in Ireland, but escorts would welcome the establishment of a
variety of sex worker support services.
Fear of media exposure amongst escorts in Ireland is very high, even higher than fear of crime, with 74.6% of participants worried or very worried about being exposed as an escort in the newspapers or other media.
Recommendations include further research, a review of laws and policies that put sex workers at risk, tackling media abuse of sex workers and the provision of police sex worker liaison services and general advice, legal advice, health services and
exiting services for sex workers.
The full report outlines that a number of factors put escort at risk of violence and abuse. The lack of support services and good relations with police, mean offenders specifically target escorts, in the belief that they are people in society without any
help, who offenders can abuse with a very low risk of facing any consequences as a result. The media portrayal of escorts as people with no rights, no choices, helpless victims who can't say no to anything or anybody, is also sending a very dangerous
message to offenders.
UglyMugs.ie is a scheme that aims to improve the safety of sex workers in Ireland and reduce crimes committed against them, by bringing sex workers together to share information about potential dangers.
Commenting on the research, UglyMugs.ie said:
There has never been any independent research into indoor sex work in Ireland. Instead of asking sex workers about their lives, we ask anti-prostitution campaigners. As our initial research here has shown, the Irish public are being grossly misled.
Proper independent research must now be carried out now to establish the reality of indoor sex work in Ireland, so sensible legislation can be put in place.
The Republic of Ireland's government has introduced a bill that will make it a criminal offence to pay for sex.
The bill comes a year after the Oireachtas 'Justice' Committee's Report on the Review of the Legislation on Prostitution in Ireland made the recommendation that the purchase of sexual services should be made illegal.
'Justice' Minister Frances Fitzgerald introduced the new legislation on November 27th , claiming that her proposed bill reflects an all-island consensus to targeting the predominantly exploitative nature of prostitution. The draft legislation
makes purchasing sexual services a general offence, and the purchasing of sexual services from trafficked persons a more serious offence. The Irish Department of 'Justice' said:
In both cases, the persons selling the sexual service will not be subject to an offence Unlike the existing offences relating to prostitution such as soliciting, loitering or brothel keeping, this offence will specifically target the demand for
However, as Ireland-based activist and writer Wendy Lyon pointed out on Twitter, the offence of paying for sexual services will be inserted into the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 as Section 5A and there is no repeal of any of the parts
of the 1993 Act that currently criminalises sex workers. This bill will NOT decriminalise sex workers she wrote.
An Irish sex worker, Jenny, said:
I think [the Swedish Model] is a very very scary model and that people don't truly understand how far-reaching it can be.
You're basically playing cat and mouse against the police all the time if you introduce the Swedish model and you're just trying to work against the police and you're not getting any help. It's bad enough as it is already. It's going to be worse if they
introduce the Swedish Model.
Ed Miliband told the Andrew Marr Show he would not support new emergency legislation if it was modelled on the
snooper's charter. He said he would adopt a cautious and considered approach in answer to calls for increased surveillance powers for the intelligence agencies.
Miliband was speaking after Lord West of Spithead, the former security minister in Gordon Brown's government, called for a revival of the data communications bill, known as the snooper's charter.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister, declined to offer support for the bill, proposed by the home secretary, Theresa May, that would give the police and security services the ability to track the email and internet use of UK
West told the same programme that it would be wrong to rush in legislation. But he criticised Clegg for forcing the government to abandon the data communications bill. He said:
Normally we stop plots because we get a heads up because we know people are talking to each other. That is why that intercept is so important. Most of the plots we have stopped in this country because of that initially indicator. If they are
talking then it is really difficult to do anything about it.
Responding to calls to revive the communications data bill, aka the Snoopers Charter, Emma Carr, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said:
It is wholly unacceptable for this tragedy in Paris to be used as a means to call for a return of the Snoopers Charter. It is the wrong solution and would divert resources from focused surveillance operations at a time when the
agencies are already struggling to cope with the volume of information available.
The Government is introducing legislation to solve the important problem of who is using a specific Internet Protocol address, but the powers within the Snoopers Charter go too far, as recognised by a number of Political figures and two
Instead, the government should focus on the number of failures to continue monitoring those suspected of posing a threat. Those failures should be used as a blueprint to re-evaluate the decision making and record keeping processes of the
intelligence agencies, as well as the training and resources allocated within the counter terrorism community.
Irish anti-prostitution campaigners have noted 26 extra profiles listed on escort agency
websites in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Louth.
The campaign group, Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI, not a state body), has noted an increase in online escort profiles from 51 to 77.
The group is claiming this to be an in increase of prostitution activity in southern border counties of 51%.
Inevitably now that men will be persecuted for buying sex in the north, there will be a proportion of the sex trade that moves to more tolerant jurisdictions, but counting online profiles is no more than a stab in the dark about quantifying
resultant cross border trade.
Brian Killoran of the ICI claimed:
The initial indications are that those who run prostitution have been feeling the heat of Northern Ireland's new laws even before they came into force and have been switching their operations to the South.
It is important that Gardai monitor the increase in online activity and use our existing laws to ensure that pimps and traffickers are not viewing our border counties and major cities as safe havens after their business model has been wrecked
in the North.
It is also essential that the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, honour her commitment to publish sex buyer laws here and that we join Northern Ireland, the US, Canada and Sweden in shutting down the organised crime behind
The purchasing of sex will be outlawed under new criminal offences. Miserable ministers signed have agreed to a bill
that will see those buying sex face fines of €500 or up to €5,000 if the person is trafficked.
'Justice' Minister Frances Fitzgerald is expected to publish the final legislation next week and make an announcement on when the new criminal offence will be enacted. It is unclear if it will or will not decriminalise sex workers in brothels or on the
A group which calls itself the sex workers alliance of Ireland said it was a sad day for sex workers and that there are efforts in Sweden to decriminalise sex workers or soliciting by prostitutes.
New legislation on sexual offences criminalises paying for sex with prostitutes, but ensures the person offering
sexual services is not guilty of a crime. Presumably Ireland does not have laws against inciting people (their customers) to commit a crime.
Minister for Injustice Frances Fitzgerald published the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 on Wednesday, claiming she was committed to addressing the very real and tragic crimes of trafficking and exploitation associated with prostitution.
I am convinced that targeting the demand for such services is the way forward.
Ms Fitzgerald said her proposals mirrored the approach adopted in Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions which she said had seen a reduction in demand for the services provided by prostitutes.