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Christy Moore backs campaign to target men who buy sex

Proposals made to prosecute who hire prostitutes – but to not criminalise the woman who sells sex.

Campaign wants gardai to focus on prosecuting those who buy sex, rather than those who sell
Campaign wants gardai to focus on prosecuting those who buy sex, rather than those who sell
Image: PA Images/Paul Barker

SINGER CHRISTY MOORE and playwright Peter Sheridan have helped launch a campaign to introduce Swedish-style laws on prostitution.

In Sweden, it is not illegal for a woman to work as a prostitute but it is a criminal offence for a man to pay for sex. Ruhama, an Irish group that works with prostitutes, claims that the deterrent of being prosecuted has greatly reduced the number of men looking to buy sex in Sweden. They hope that introducing similar legislation here would similarly reduce the number of Irish women working as prostitutes.

A launch of the campaign, called Turn Off The Red Light, was supported by singer Moore, poet Theo Dorgan, Barndardos CEO Fergus Finlay and playwright and director Peter Sheridan, brother of film director Jim, according to the Irish Times.

Meanwhile, a conference will be held on Monday in the Dublin Civic Offices on Wood Quay to examine the same Swedish legislation and its impact on prostitution. It is being organised by the Dignity project which describes itself as “an Irish-led initiative focused on delivering quality services to victims of sex trafficking”. It includes Garda representatives, the HSE and some voluntary agents.

The conference is to focus on the proposal that a combination of a legislative ban on the sale of sex “along with better supports for trafficked women and prostitutes” could change the landscape of prostitution in Ireland. See for more information on the conference.

The current legislation on the soliciting, organisation and living on the earnings of prostitution is in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993. Under it, the soliciting or offering of services as a prostitute to another person (no gender specified) is illegal but it’s not illegal to actually give over money or accept it for sex.

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