JUSTICE MINISTER ALAN Shatter has published a major new document which looks at whether Ireland’s laws around prostitution should be changed.
The discussion document is part of a public consultation process on the future direction of legislation on prostitution. It will be referred to an Oireachtas Committee, when interested groups and members of the public are likely to be able to offer their opinions on it.
The document – which can be read in PDF here - does not favour any particular approach to changing the current laws but offers suggestions to deal with the ongoing problem and changing nature of prostitution in Ireland.
“Prostitution was once mainly a street-based phenomenon,” said Minister Shatter. “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”.
The Minister said that while there is a clear consensus on the evils of child prostitution and sex trafficking, there are “differing and genuinely held views” on how criminal law should deal with prostitution.
“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 circumstances,” said Minister Shatter.
Prostitution is an issue which affects individuals, communities and society as a whole. It is important that I facilitate the expression of all views on this subject and that those views are examined in due course. Public debate should therefore, be open to the widest possible audience and I want to ensure that everyone who wishes to make a contribution to this important debate is given the opportunity to do so.
The Department of Justice will hold a conference in the autumn to discuss the document.