Is prostitution illegal in Ireland? Well kind of, Wikipedia puts it as this:
Prostitution in the Republic of Ireland is, itself, legal, but most activities associated with it (such as soliciting in a public place, operating brothels, and other forms of pimping) are illegal.
This is due to the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act of 1993, which made soliciting illegal. But should prostitution be made fully illegal? Should the Swedish Model, which criminalises the buyers of sex, be implemented here?
It should be according to the “Turn off the Red Light Campaign“. While any attempt to stop human trafficking, whether it involves sex work or any sort of labour, is laudable, will this cause more issues then it will solve.
The Turn off the Red Light campaign is taking a complete moral stance on this believed that anyone paying for sex should be criminalised, but will that stop it?
Since the crack down on prostitution since the 1980’s prostitution has not decreased in Ireland, but simply went under ground. The Gardaí no longer know who works in the area, the sex workers are now less empowered. They are forced to work in massage parlours where they no longer can negotiate favourable terms and conditions for themselves.
While there is no doubt that Human Trafficking is a major issue and needs to be tackled, how is lumping trafficked and non-trafficked women together for a moralistic campaign going to make life easier for either group.
We must face facts. Some people want to work as a Sex Workers, some people want to use the services of Sex Workers, why do we want to stop that? Who are we to say it is wrong if it is all consensual? I am not going to.
In Europe Prostitution is legal and regulated in the following countries:
But most countries fall into the same category as Ireland, they include; Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Only 3 countries have implemented the Swedish Model of criminalising the buyer of sex, they are Sweden, Iceland and Norway.
So which is the way to go? Should we be focused more on protecting those who are sex workers? Should we not be taking steps to empower them? Or will be drive them further under ground and into the arms of criminal gangs who commit crimes such as Human Trafficking.
If this campaign is successful it will certainly put sex workers civil, human, safety and health rights at risk. Is that really a good idea?
Check out the following websites:
- I worked in the sex trade; does that make me ‘trafficked’? (telegraph.co.uk)
- UN Report Calls for Decriminalization of Prostitution in Asia (voanews.com)
- How prostitution became France’s hottest social issue (guardian.co.uk)
- Ireland’s prostitution laws to be radically overhauled to reflect internet age (irishcentral.com)
- The bill that could result in men who pay for sex being brought before the courts (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)