TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to sex worker and rights advocate Laura Lee, who passed away suddenly on Wednesday.
Lee (39) was an active campaigner advocating for the rights of sex workers.
She was an independent escort based in Glasgow, and had been a vocal campaigner against laws criminalising people for purchasing sex.
The Dublin-born law graduate was taking a case in Northern Ireland against the laws that made it illegal to pay for sex in the region.
She was granted leave to bring the challenge to the law in October 2016.
Similar laws were also brought in in the Republic of Ireland last year.
A message shared on Lee’s Twitter account by her daughter Cat announced her death.
“She asked me to let you know that she was so grateful for everyone’s support,” Cat said.
“I ask you to continue all of your amazing work in her honour.
I’m so proud of all my mum accomplished in her tragically short life. My family have asked for complete privacy at this difficult time. Much love & power to you all!
Sex Workers Alliance Ireland released a statement paying tribute to Lee.
“We are heartbroken and devastated at the loss of our dear friend, colleague and SWAI board member Laura Lee,” the SWAI said.
“Our hearts are with Laura’s family, friends and all who knew and loved her.
“Laura’s bravery was unending. She believed passionately in justice and was fighting for every single sex worker in this world.
Her dedication and commitment to our struggle has made a huge and lasting impact, and she will never be forgotten.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Lee’s solicitor Ciaran Moynagh said that he would continue her work.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of our client Laura Lee,” he said.
Laura courageously fronted a campaign and judicial review which sought to defend and protect thousands of sex workers who do not have a voice.